Ladera Ranch Mello Roos Explained

There is a lot of misunderstanding about Mello-Roos in Ladera Ranch. Simply stated, Mello-Roos is a special property tax assessment that is levied on Ladera Ranch (and other cities) real estate within a designated district. These Ladera Ranch Mello-Roos districts are created to raise money by the sale of bonds, for the purpose of financing infrastructure improvements for that community. This infrastructure improvements may include drainage systems, sewer treatment, water lines, new streets, new parks, upgraded electrical lines, etc.

The motivation for the creation of the Mello-Roos tax started back in 1978 with the passage of Proposal 13. Prop 13 limited local Governments ability to pay for capital facilities and services by increasing property taxes. In 1982, Senator Henry Mello and Assemblyman Mike Roos empowered the Community Facilities District (now called Mello-Roos) to enable local governments with an another means to raise needed funds, and the first Mello-Roos district was created in 1986. Below are some of the more common questions that are asked about Ladera Ranch Mello-Roos:

A.- What is the Total Tax Rate in Ladera Ranch including Mello Roos?

When homes were first built, the Ladera Ranch Mello-Roos fee plus Prop 13 base tax totaled about 2.0%. Prop 13 base property tax is approximately 1.1% of the purchase price and the Mello-Roos portion of the tax was approximately an additional 0.9%. One important distinction is that the Prop 13 Tax is based upon the sales price, so as your home appreciates and is sold, the new Buyer has to pay a higher property Tax. But, the Mello-Roos tax is not based upon the sale price and mostly lasts constant even after years of appreciation. Due to the strong appreciation that Ladera Ranch has experienced since the homes were first built, the Prop 13 tax adjusts upwards at bout 1.1% of the purchase price, while the Mello-Roos essentially stays fixed at approximately $ 2,000 / year. So today, the total property tax is around 1.5% for a $ 800,000 home.

B.- How does one estimate the Mello-Roos when buying a Ladera Ranch home?

During the escrow period, the Seller is required to acquire a report which will state in writing the exact amount of the Mello-Roos tax. Before you make an offer you can also estimate the Mello-Roos for it does vary somewhat from community to community and even much to lot .. You take the quoted Tax Assessor annual Tax amount, and subtract the 1.1% of the Prop 13 portion of the tax from this amount. The reminder is a reasonable estimate of your yearly Mello-Roos payment for that home.

C.- Can I deduct my Ladera Ranch Mello-Roos taxes from my Income Tax?

It is the opinion of some tax accountants that the Mello-Roos tax is not tax deductible. On the other hand, I know of home owners in Ladera Ranch who have deducted their Mello-Roos tax from their income taxes. It is best advised that you consult with your tax advisor and make your own decision on this topic.

D.- How and when do I pay the Ladera Ranch Mello-Roos Tax?

The Mello-Roos tax is included in your normal Prop 13 tax bill and this is billed to you twice per year on February 1st and November 1st.

E.- How long do the Ladera Ranch Mello-Roos tax last?

The Mello-Roos assessment is written for about 15 to 25 years dependent on the community facilities district. Many of the districts have the right to renew the Mello-Roos tax if needed, so it is prudent not to assume that this tax will disappear during your ownership

F.- How do I compare the value of a Home with Mello-Roos against a Home without?

As an example, let's say you are thinking about buying either a home in Ladera Ranch with yearly Mello-Roos payment of about $ 1,800, or possibly buying a home in Laguna Niguel with no Mello-Roos. To compare the values ​​of these two homes, take the $ 1,800 yearly Mello-Roos payment, dividend by 12 for the monthly payment of $ 150. A $ 150 per month payment is approximately equal to a $ 25,000 mortgage in today's interest rates. Therefore the home in Ladera Ranch is actually costing you about $ 25,000 more as compared to the home you're considering in Laguna Niguel. If the Ladera Ranch home is still more desirable to you at a comparative price $ 25,000 higher than the home in Laguna Niguel, then buy it, if not, buy the home in Laguna Niguel.



Source by Vincent Bindi

NMLS CE Review of Kaplan and Proschools

In previous years the states regulated the mortgage industry. In 2011 the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) is in place under the federal government. A requirement to maintain a NMLS license is 8 hours per year of continuing education (CE).

Options for CE are classroom or an online course. I got an offer for a discount price of $ 99.95 from "Kaplan Real Estate Education" and determined to do that. Having done CE courses for insurance and mortgage licensing for the last five years with no problems, it seemed like a good option. The Kaplan NMLS CE course is divided into multiple sections. You view the material for a section and then take a take a 10 question quiz. You must get 100% on the quiz to move to the next section. If you get 90% or less you do it over until you get 100%. This is very irritating. Then when you finally get to the end of the eight hour course (more if you spend a lot of time on the quizzes) there is a 25 question final exam. Kaplan gives you two chances to get 75% or better on the exam. Some of the questions are worded in a different way from the material presented. Other questions ask for statistical historical information that has no educational value. OK, I am making excuses for flunking the exam twice! The first time in five years I have had any problem with a CE exam. When I called to complain the Kaplan supervisor said I should pay again, do another 8 hours of CE class, and then they would let me try their stupid test two more times …. with no certainty of getting a CE certificate. When I asked about a refund I was told that they do not give refunds.

A couple days later a representative called from Proschools to see if I wanted to do their CE course. The rep said they had a satisfaction guarantee. She also said that students rarely had a problem with the exam, and that they allowed allowed attempts if needed. Preschools offered a discount that made the cost around $ 100 and I decided to give it a try. The material seemed to be geared a little more towards useful information rather than arcane historical data. Proschools has a quiz after each section but there was usually only two to four questions. This made it much easier to get 100% on the quiz. The quiz offered a choice of a practice or "final" mode. You have to do the "final" quiz, even if you get 100% on the practice mode that has the same questions. It is best to skip the practice and go straight to the "final" quiz. You get multiple opportunities for the final quiz if needed. Then came the dreaded final exam. The government requires the course provider to require 70% or better to pass. (Why does Kaplan require 75%? So more people will flunk and have to repeat their course?) I was short on time and rushed through the exam in about five minutes. I got 24 of 25 correct for 96%. See, IR smart !!

From my experience this year I would suggest Proschools if you want an online course. Ask if they are offering any discounts and they will give you the code to use for that, if it is available. Of course the quality of the course is far more important than a small difference in the cost.



Source by Glenn Lamb

The History of UK Equity Release Schemes

Equity release is an increasingly attractive option for those seeking financial relief. However, this was not always the case, and it's interesting to note that these plans first became available in the UK in 1965. When first introduced, the main goal of these plans was to create an option for those who had invested in property but needed cash funds to cover certain expenses.

In the 1970s, the prices of houses in the UK soared, and this made it possible for financial institutions to offer clients and even wider range of options in terms of equity release plans. At first, the equity release market took off, and a large number of property owners signed these agreements. However, for those who opted for the "home income" plan, things did not pan out quite as they were hoped. This plan meant that the property owner would need to agree to buy an annuity as well as an interest only mortgage loan. It was marked in a way that it appeared to those who were seeking an additional monthly income to subsidize their pensions. They only needed to make monthly payments to cover the interest.

In the 1990s, however, interest rates spiked, and house prices dropped. This was disastrous for many, and this claimed in a ban on this particular plan. Not to mention the bad reputation equity release received as a result of numerous unhappy clients. This was, however, during the earlier stages of these plans and, since then, several factors have changed.

By the end of the 90s, the prices of houses were on the rise again, and interest rates were improving too. Financial experts came up with improved equity release plans with added protection policies in place to protect everyone concerned. Despite its earlier slump, equity release made a remarkable comeback and, today, previous records are being smashed with more and more pensioners choosing these options to solve their financial problems. As added reassurance, homeowners also have the help and protection of rules set out by the Equity Release Council (ERC) and all plans need to conform to specific criteria. One of the most important protective measures in effect is the "No Negative Equity Guarantee". This means that, no matter what, the amount payable upon the conclusion of the transaction will never be greater than the value of the home. In other words, your equity release plan will never result in debt since selling your property will cover the full amount at least.



Source by Andrew Larkin

A Secret Credit Score Your Car Dealer Will not Tell You About

You're ready to buy a new car.

You've done all your homework.

You know your three FICO credit scores.

You determine that your highest FICO credit score is from Equifax (also known as your BEACON score).

So, you find a car dealer who uses your highest score (which increases your opportunity to get approved at a good rate).

You get to the dealership and ignore all the salespeople by going directly to the finance director's office.

But as the finance director reviews your credit file in front of you … you can not help but think something is wrong.

Sure enough … the dealer says your Equifax / BEACON score is not high enough for their lowest interest rate.

How can this be? You just checked your FICO credit scores through http://www.myfico.com/12 a few hours ago. It's possible – although illegally – the information on your credit report has changed and that your scores have decreased since you last checked them. Remember, your credit scores are dynamic and will change whenever information on your credit reports changes.

Your credit reports can change several times each month as new information is added or updated by your lenders. But more than likely, your scores would not change in this situation (especially if there were only a few hours between when you checked your scores and when the dealership reviewed your credit reports).

So, if your credit reports did not change, why is the finance director staring at your scores with such a discouraging face?

Car Dealers Can Use "Different" FICO Scores Than The Ones You See

The car dealer is probably using what is known as the FICO Auto Industry Option score instead of a traditional FICO credit score. You see, car dealers not only get to select the credit reporting agency they receive FICO credit scores from … they also get to decide if they will use a traditional FICO credit score or a variation of a FICO score called an Auto Industry Option score .

What's the difference between these two types of scores?

Not a whole lot to most people … but there's enough variation to make the major of auto lenders use the Auto Industry Option score. The real difference between the two scores is that the Auto Industry Option score pays a lot more attention to how you handled previous auto credit.

– Have you made late payments on a current or previous auto loan or lease?
– Have you ever settled an auto loan or lease for less than you owed?
– Have you had a car repossessed?
– Have you had an auto account sent to collections?
– Did you include your car loan or lease in your bankruptcy?

Those actions will affect your Auto Industry Option score more than they'll affect your traditional FICO score. Bottom line, if you handled your previous auto credit perfectly, you should have a high FICO Auto Industry Option score – that's a good thing.

But what if you've had a few bumps in the auto credit road in the past? You guessed it … your Auto Industry Option score will be lower. You'll be perceived as a greater credit risk and the auto lender may either deny you or use your lower score to justify charging you a higher interest rate.

You see, auto lenders are different than other types of lenders. And I'm not talking about their slimy ways, leisure suits, short ties, manly hairy chests, or gold bling.

A lot of other lenders look at your whole credit picture to determine whether or not to give you a loan. But many auto lenders care about only one thing … how you handled your past AUTO credit. That's what a FICO Auto Industry Option Score gives car dealers – a way to pinpoint how you've handled what matters to them the most.

So, even if everything else on your credit reports went down the toilet after your bankruptcy, if you did not include your auto loan in your bankruptcy and never defaulted or missed a car payment, your Auto Industry scores will probably be better than your traditional FICO scores!

What a Former Auto Finance Director Revealed to Me

I recently spoke with a former finance director, and this is what she told me …

"So many people I had helped could not believe their scores were so high with the FICO Auto Industry Option score. auto score is that it really helps the auto lender concentrate on what is important – how the customer handles his / her auto loans.

By our dealership having the auto enhanced FICO, it helped 30% or more of our customers get better rates. "

I do not believe I'm going to say this, but I think I may actually have something good to say about car dealers! Well, some of them, anyway …

As you can see, the FICO auto scores can work in your favor, if they are used correctly.

OK, I just would not be able to live with myself if I only said good things about car dealers.

So, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, here's how to protect yourself against slimy car dealers that can use your FICO Auto Industry Option
scores against you …

A Dirty Trick Car Dealers Can Play with Your FICO Scores

Let's imagine your Equifax / Beacon FICO score is 585. Not too good. With a score that low, if you do get approved for a car loan, you'll probably wind up with a high interest rate and high monthly payment.

So you go to a dealership and talk with the finance director and tell him your Equifax FICO score is 585. The finance director then reviews your FICO Auto Industry Option score. And, unknown to you, this score is actually higher than the Equifax / Beacon FICO score you dropped.

With this higher score, you'll get approved at a better rate … right?

Not necessarily!

Here's what unscrupulous car dealers can do. They will not tell you that your auto score is higher than your traditional score!

They figure they have a sucker sitting in front of them. So they'll try to get you funded at a higher rate based on the lower FICO score (thus making more profit for themselves).

How Some Car Dealers "Play the Spread" to Get You to Pay More

Now check this out …

It's possible that a car dealer has the ability to pull your traditional FICO scores AND your FICO auto scores. That means they'll have six scores on you. It's a guarantee that some of those scores are going to be higher than the others. So which ones will they use when trying to get you funded?

It depends.

Are you familiar with the term "spread"? It's how car dealers make money when they finance you. If they can quote you a higher interest rate than you deserve – then they stand to make a nice chunk of change from the bank that finances you.

The only way to make a killer "spread" is to make you think that you have lower scores.

So, what can you do?

Do not despair … I can help you.

How to Use Your FICO Scores to Your Advantage when Buying a Car

Fortunately, you do not have to fall for their dirty tricks. Now that you know all about FICO Auto Industry Option scores, you can protect yourself. Here's what I suggest …

1. When you first walk into the finance director's office, do not tell him what your FICO scores are. Wait until he reviews the scores himself. Then ask him what your scores are.

2. If the scores he reviewed are higher than the ones you have, do not say anything and just go by his scores.

3. However, if your scores are higher, then pull them out and show him. If he has a choice in the type of scores he can use, there's a possibility that he'll be able to use your highest score. And, it will let him know that he does not have a fool sitting in front of him. He can not take advantage of you!

How do you find out what your FICO Auto Industry Option scores are before you walk into a car dealership?

You can not.

Sorry. They're not for sale – at any price. Only lenders have access to them.

FICO would like to sell them … but there just is not enough demand. I mean seriously, up until you read this article, had you ever heard of the FICO Auto Industry Option score?

Exactly.

Remember, we were just given access to purchase all three of our traditional FICO credit scores on June 11, 2003 at 8:00 am (I actually got misty that day … what a geek I am.)

Only a very small percentage of the population even knows they have three FICO credit scores … let alone three Auto Industry Option scores.

So How Can You Use This Information to Help You Get Your Next New Car Financed at the Best Interest Rate

1. First, get your three credit reports. If you handled your previous auto credit well – your FICO Auto Industry Option scores will be higher than your traditional FICO scores. So expect more from the lender.

2. You can also ask the lender to show you their tier levels. Tiers are basically charts lenders use that have different interest rates based on your scores. You want to see which tier your fall in. To see an example of an auto lender's tier schedule, click here.

3. If they will not show you … at least have them break it down verbally for you. (Personally, I like to see it with my own eyes, as I never believe a word that comes out of most car dealers' mouths.)

4. If you've handled your auto credit poorly … then you should simply try to find an auto lender that uses just the traditional FICO credit scores. When you find a lender that uses a traditional FICO credit score, you'll have your best chance to get the lowest interest rate.

5. Start by calling dealerships and asking the finance director if they use a traditional FICO credit score to make their lending decision or if they use the FICO Auto Industry Option score.

These steps will get you headed in the right direction. This will not be easy, as a lot of car dealers use the FICO Auto Industry Option score.



Source by Stephen Snyder

Agent Marketing Minute: Let a Brag Book Tell Your Story

In today's competitive real estate marketplace, I still am amazed at how few agents know how to communicate their real estate business story to a home buyer and seller. First impressions count, and you need to be prepared verbally and visually to tell your story and why the consumer should use you and not the competition. Soon after I started in the business I developed for lack of a better name, my brag book, that take on all listing appointments and first meetings with buyers.

My books' contents are always evolving and are constantly updated with current information and examples. The first section has as many active, pending, and closed listings as I can fit in. I include property brochures, postcards and virtual tours on CD-ROMs. Include a variety of price points and locations.

The second section has examples of newspaper advertisements, magazine features, and screen prints from my and my brokers web site to illustrate what types of marketing I do for a specific property.

Third in my brag book are the actual cards, letters, and emails that have testimonials from clients, both buyers and sellers, about their satisfaction with my real estate business.

Lastly, any awards or non-profit work I do in the community, I like to point out that giving back to the community is an important part of my business. After a client goes through my book, they have an comprehensive idea of ​​what benefits I bring to the table. Let your brag book help tell your story to prospective clients.



Source by Mark Nash

Thinking of Buying a Condo Hotel? Here Are 20 Things You Need to Know!

1. What is a condo hotel or condotel?

Think of a condo hotel (also sometimes called a condotel or hotel condo) as buying a condominium, although one that is part of a four-star caliber hotel. Therefore, as an owner, when you are on vacation, you'll get the benefit of more four-star services and amenities than you'd get in a typical condominium.

2. What types of services and amenities are found in condo hotels?

If you can imagine the niceties you'd find in an upscale hotel, then you can picture a condo hotel. Among the features are often resort-style pools, full-service spas, state-of-the-art fitness centers, fine dining restaurants, concierge services and room service.

In some locations, like Las Vegas, you'll find hotels with their own casinos, retail areas, and entertainment venues. In places like Orlando, you'll find condo hotels with their own water parks and convention facilities.

3. What is the difference between a condo hotel and a traditional condominium?

The big difference between a hotel and a condo hotel is that a hotel typically has one owner, either individual or corporate, but a condo hotel is sold off unit by unit. Therefore, a 300-room condo hotel could have as many as 300 unit owners.

4. Is it evident to hotel guests whether they're staying in a condo hotel or a traditional hotel?

A hotel guest will likely never know that the hotel has multiple owners because the property is operated just like a traditional hotel and often under the management of a well-known hotel company like Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Trump or W. Also, each of the individual condo hotel units will look identical in design and décor to every other, just as they would in a traditional hotel.

5. Who typically buys condo hotels?

They're primarily sold to people who want a vacation home but do not want to deal with the hassles typically associated with second home ownership such as maintaining the property or finding renters in the off season.

6. What is the demographic of the typical condo hotel buyer?

The spectrum of condo hotel buyers is pretty broad. There are families that want a second home in a vacation destination. There are baby boomers who are at or near retirement and want somewhere they can "winter." There are also plenty of investors who purchase a condo hotel unit with little intention of ever using it; they're in it for the potential appreciation of the real estate.

7. Can you live in a condo hotel?

Condo hotels are not typically offered as primary residences. In fact, many of them limit the unit owner's usage of the condo hotel unit (typically 30-60 days per year) because the unit is expected and needed in the hotel's nightly rental program where it can be offered to guests and generate revenue.

8. Who gets the money when your condo hotel is rented out?

The hotel management company splits the rental revenue with the individual condo hotel owner. While the exact percentages vary from property to property, the typical rental split is in the 50% -50% range.

9. Who finds hotel guests and then cleans and meets the condo hotel units?

The hotel management company markets the property and books hotel guests. It also maintains the unit and ensures the smooth operation of all of the hotel's services and amenities.

10. What are the advantages / disadvantages of purchasing a condotel over purchasing typical rental properties?

Advantages include:

Hassle-free ownership; no landlord issues

· Rental revenue to offset some or maybe all ownership expenses

· A fantastic vacation home available for use whenever you want

· A real estate investment at a time when other investments may seem less attractive

· Strong likelihood of appreciation

· Pride of ownership – "I own a piece of a Trump"

Disadvantages include:

· Annual cash flow could be equal to or less than annual ownership costs

· Pets are usually not welcome.

· An owner's condo hotel unit may be rented when the owner wants to it, so advance reservations are required to guarantee availability.

· The condo hotel unit is subject to the same dips in the market that affect all hotels in the competitive market set: hurricanes, terrorist threats, warm winters up north, price of gas, etc., all of which can affect a unit's occupancy rate and the amount of revenue it generates.

11. Are condo hotel units difficult to finance?

Not at all, but they do take 20% down typically, whereas condos can be purchased with less cash down. It's also important to make sure you use a mortgage broker who has had success in getting condo hotel financing deals done. Many banks still do not do them, but more and more are getting involved as condo hotels become more spacious available.

12. How long have condo hotels been around and where are they located?

Condo hotels have been around for several decades, but the huge surge of four-star and five-star condo hotels that have been making their way across the country, started around year 2000 in the Miami area. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area still has the most condo hotels, but areas like Orlando and Las Vegas are developing condo hotel properties at an even faster rate and will likely exceed South Florida soon. Other up-and-coming areas are places like the Bahamas, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada and Dubai.

13. How much do condo hotel units cost?

That's like asking how much a car costs. There are different quality condo hotels. Some require greater amounts of money than others, obviously.

There are inexpensive condo hotels out there for as little as $ 100,000. These are typically found in properties that have converted their use from an existing hotel. They are hotel room-sized, lack kitchen facilities, luxury franchises, and other first-class amenities.

Then there are the four-star or greater properties that may start in the $ 300,000 to $ 400,000 range, but can go all the way up to $ 800,000 just for a studio unit. One- and two-bedroom units cost substantially more than a studio. Of course, the studios do come fully furnished and finished, and will be significantly larger in size than a typical hotel room, and may attract guests because of its name like St. Louis. Regis, Ritz or W.

14. What are typical maintenance costs?

On average about $ 1.00 to $ 1.50 per sq. ft., but the range can exceed $ 2.00 sq. ft. in the most luxurious properties.

15. Do you buy condo hotel suites after they have been built, or can you purchase condo hotels in pre-construction?

Unless you are in a hurry to get started vacationing or you need to complete a 1031 exchange, it's best to buy condo hotels in pre-construction as early as possible. That's when prices are lowest and unit selection is greatest. You will likely wait two years or longer before closing on and taking possession of your condo hotel unit, but you will have locked in the price and will get the benefit of maximum appreciation.

16. Is there anything else investors should want to know about condotels?

There is more to buying this type of real estate than the old phrase, "location, location, location." While most condo hotels are located in desirable resort and business area locations, what is most important is a good franchise with a strong reservation system.

Also, do not be fooled by an aggressive rental split. One way or the other, the developer of the property will have to staff, maintain and operate the hotel and its services like the restaurants, bars, spas and pools from his share of the proceedings. If he's giving you a very favorable share of the rental, he's also more likely to be charging you a higher monthly maintenance fee. Of course, this goes both ways. If the maintenance split that is offered is closer to 50-50, then your maintenance should be more reasonable too.

17. Any suggestions to investors in choosing which condo hotel to buy?

Get good advice. That means you do not want to merely only on the pitch provided by an onsite salesperson at a condo hotel. You want to talk with a broker who specializes in condo hotels and who knows and understands the entire condo hotel market, not just the facts relating to a single property. He or she will listen to your wishes and needs and then offer recommendations as to which properties best match your requirements. You'll have an opportunity to compare shop and consider the pros and cons of each available property.

A good broker can have the difference between your buying a condo hotel that will be problematic and not live up to your expectations or one that will provide you with years of great vacations, good annual revenue and a substantial profit when you sell.

18. Does it cost more to use a real estate broker to purchase a condo hotel than buying a unit on one's own?

No. With new condo hotel properties, the prices are always set by the developer and are exactly the same whether you buy directly from an onsite salesperson at the property or using a broker.

The broker's commission is always paid by the developer and is already built into the price regardless of whether an outside broker participates in the sale or not. Since a broker's representation is free to buyers, it does make sense to enlist their aid and get the benefit of their advice before making a purchase.

19. How can prospective buyers find a good condo hotel broker?

Ask friends for broker recommendations or search online for "condo hotel broker." Visit condo hotel broker websites and see if the information they provide seems comprehensive and unbiased. If their website looks to focus on selling homes or office space, and the condo hotel information appears to be an afterthought, steer clear. Your best bet is to work with a condo hotel broker who specializes.

20. How can buyers learn about new condo hotel properties coming on the market?

Condo hotel brokers can be good information sources as they often learn about properties prior to their release to the general public. Another option is for them to subscribe to a condo hotel newsletter such as the one we publish called Condo Hotel Property Alert. We offer it for free on our website http://www.CondoHotelCenter.com and it features a different condo hotel property coming on the market each edition.



Source by Joel Greene

Realty Vs Real Estate Vs Real Property

Realty and personal property terms have often been confused as to what they exactly mean. Here we will clear that right up for you. We will look at the terms personal property, realty, land, real estate, and lastly real property.

Let's begin with personal property. Personal property also known as chattel is everything that is not real property. Example couches, TVs things of this nature. Emblements pronounced (M-blee-ments) are things like crops, apples, oranges, and berries. Emblements are also personal property. So when you go to sell your house, flip, or wholesale deal, you sell or transfer ownership by a bill of sale with personal property.

Realty.
Realty is the broad definition for land, real estate, and real property.

Land
Land is everything mother nature wave to us like whats below the ground, above the ground and the airspace. Also called subsurface (underground), surface (the dirt) and airspace. So when you buy land that's what you get, keep in mind our government owns a lot of our air space.

Real Estate
Real estate is defined as land plus its man made improvements added to it. You know things like wings, houses, and driveways. So when you buy real estate this is what you can expect to be getting.

Real property
Real property is land, real estate, and what's call the bundle of rights. The bundle of rights consist of five rights, the right to possess, control, enjoy, exclude, and lastly dispose. So basically you can possess, take control, enjoy, exclude others, and then dispose of your real property as you wish as long as you do not break state and federal laws.

Lastly there are two other types of property we should mention.

Fixture
Fixture is personal property which has been attached realty and by that now is considered real property. So you would ask yourself upon selling to determine value "Did you attach it to make it permanent?" The exceptions to this rule are the garage door opener and door key, these are not considered fixtures.

Trade Fixtures
Trade fixtures are those fixtures installed by say a commercial tenant or can be the property of the commercial tenant.

I hope this clears up some misconceptions about personal property, realty, land and real estate and now fixtures and trade fixtures!



Source by Bill Guerra

What TN Home Buyers Need to Know About THDA Loans

Some of the best loan programs in TN are right under our noses, and THDA loans (TN Housing Development Agency) are one of them. A few reasons why there isn’t a ton of press about these great loans is because 1) not all TN lenders can do them, 2) THDA loans tend to be smaller loan sizes (on average) and coupled with the limitation on allowable fees, many loan officers who could do them choose not to, and 3) many loan officers do not offer them because they believe that THDA loans are a lot harder to get closed, which is not true at all as long as they know the program guidelines. For brevity’s sake, this article will provide an overview for the THDA program rather than detail each of the 3 loans THDA offers (Great Rate, Great Advantage, and Great Start).

The THDA loan programs were designed to offer help to low to moderate income buyers in TN seeking to purchase an affordable home. Here are the main things to know about THDA loans:

  • these loans can be used only for primary residences in TN from one to four units
  • the loans are always 30 year terms with fixed rates.
  • the borrower must qualify for an FHA, USDA Rural Development, or VA loan program before the loan can “become” a THDA subsidized loan program. The vast majority of THDA loans are FHA, since FHA loans have the broadest in eligibility requirements. Minimum credit score for any THDA loan is 620 as of right now.
  • THDA loans can effectively make FHA loans near-100% or 100% financing when combined with available THDA grant money, a “community” 2nd mortgage program like The Housing Fund, or THDA’s “Stimulus” 2nd mortgage program.
  • THDA loans are made generally to first time buyers (including people who haven’t owned a home in 3 years); the exception to this rule is when a buyer is purchasing in a “targeted” county; for example, middle TN “targeted” counties include Cannon, Clay, Dekalb, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Jackson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Maury, Stewart, Trousdale, Van Buren, Wayne, and White.
  • THDA essentially sets its own subsidized or below-market rates, which are dependent on how much grant assistance one might need. There are 3 basic loan types: Great Rate (0% assistance), Great Advantage (2% assistance), and Great Start ( 4% assistance)
  • since THDA loans are intended for “modest” homes, properties must meet eligibility requirements; for example, the sales price cannot exceed the county’s limit. There are only 2 limits in the whole state of TN- either $226,100 or $200,160 (these limits are actually fairly liberal by TN’s standards). The counties which have the higher limit are the following counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson. All other counties in TN fall under the lower limit.
  • the household income of the borrower(s) cannot exceed the median income limit for the county, based on the number of persons in the household; for example, in Davidson County (Nashville), for a 1-2 person household, the total household income limit is $64,900 right now. For a 3+ person household, the limit is $74,635. The lowest limit in TN is $54,500 for 1-2 persons and $62,675 for a 3+ person household.
  • THDA loans limit origination fees to 1% and discount points to.25%, which simply protects the buyer from getting overcharged. And since all THDA rates are the same regardless of the lender used, the main things a borrower needs to do is to make sure they feel the loan officer knows this program well, and that they feel comfortable working with that person.
  • a homebuyer education class is strongly encouraged on the Great Rate program, and required for the Great Advantage and Great Start programs; this class (if applicable) must be completed prior to the purchase, and must be done in-person. It only makes sense for these subsidized loan programs that borrowers know what they are getting into, how to budget, etc. The last thing THDA wants is for a borrower to lose their home.
  • all THDA loans are subject to a federal recapture tax provision if the purchased home is sold within the first 9 years. This tax sounds much worse than it is, though. A very small percentage of people have to worry about this, and even if they do, it’s typically because their income or home value have gone up a good bit since the purchase. That’s certainly not a bad thing!

THDA loans are a great way for first time buyers in TN in get into a home with little to nothing down, with a low interest rate and reasonable payment. Just knowing some of the basics of the program will hopefully help you know if you might be a good candidate for a THDA loan before you even speak with a lender.



Source by Brian Randall Smith

What You Get From A Real Estate Agent Service

Buying or selling a property? There are various tools for selling and buying a house and you can proceed with the process on your own. However, there is a marked difference between going through the process easily and just being able to buy or sell a property.

Surely you know that a big investment of time, effort and even money is involved in buying or selling a home. But you can benefit from the services of a realtor and avoid the complex process. Below are the reasons why home buyers and sellers enlist the aid of real estate agent.

They have the knowledge of the market.

Real estate agents leverage their knowledge and understanding of crucial matters in the market. Included here is the listing price. With the invaluable advice you get from these property professionals you can get the most of your investment if you are buying a property. If you are selling, then you can sell your property at a more competitive price.

They are well-versed in negotiating.

Your agent will talk on your behalf. With their negotiation expertise, you can get better deals as a seller or buyer. Otherwise, such deals would be unavailable to you.

They handle time and effort consuming tasks for you.

You can focus on other important matters because all the hard work of property buying or selling is done for you. Your real estate agent will handle works like marketing, showing the property to prospective buyers, open house coordination, and so on.

They have the access to new listings.

This means you also get the latest listings even before they get advertised. If you have a property you wish to buy, property professionals give you advice about the process of negotiation. If you are selling on the other hand, you get in touch with more prospective buyers through the network connection of your agent.

They have connections.

You can get your team of professional. With their connections, they can refer you to reputable lawyers, contractors, inspectors, movers, etc.

They are your trusted advisor.

Your agent offers timely and objective advice as he or she guides you throughout the buying or selling process. With his or her knowledge and experience, you can proceed with the assurance that you are making the right decision.

They give you the best outcomes.

With reputable property professionals, a buyer can get a good deal on a property and a seller can give a property at the best possible price.



Source by Brian E Bell

Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid – What RE Investors Should Know

There are 3 major drugstore chains in the US: Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid. Below are some key statistics about the 3 major drugstore chains as of 2012:

1. Walgreens ranks first with market cap of $28.51 Billion, $72.2 Billion in 2011 total revenue ($45.1B from prescription revenues), and an S&P rating of A. According to Walgreens, 75% of the US population lives within 3 miles from its stores. In April 2010, it acquired 258 Duane Reade drug stores in New York Metropolitan area which brings a total of 7841 drug stores Walgreens operates as of February 2012, including 137 hospital on-site pharmacies.

2. CVS ranks second with market cap of $56.56 Billion, $107.1 Billion in revenue ($40.5 Billion from CVS prescription revenues and $16.1B from its Caremark prescription mail order revenue), and an S&P rating of BBB+. As of December 31, 2011, CVS operates 7404 drug stores.

3. Rite Aid ranks third (fourth, behind Walmart in terms of prescription revenues) with market cap of $1.49 Billion, $26.1 Billion in revenue ($17.1B from prescription revenues), operates 4714 drug stores as of February 2011 and has an S&P rating of B-.

Investors purchase properties occupied by these drugstore chains for the following reasons:

1. The drugstore business is very recession-insensitive. People need medicine when they are sick, regardless of the state of the economy. Both rich and poor people in the US have access to medicine. Some even argue that low-income people use more medicine due to free or low-cost drugs offered by government-assisted programs. So the tenants should do well during tough time and have money to pay rent to landlords.

2. The drugstore business has a good prospect in the US:

· People are living longer and need more medicine to sustain longevity, e.g. Actonel for osteoporosis, Aricept for Alzheimer’s symptoms. Older people tend to use more medicine than younger ones as they often have more medical problems. As the 78 million baby boomers are getting closer to retiring age starting from 2008, the drugstore chains anticipate the demand for medicine to increase in next 20 years.

· The drug market continues to expand as the US population continues to grow. More and more Americans suffer from various diseases. The number of Americans suffers from seasonal allergies doubled in the last 15 years to 37 million people per Fortune magazine. They spent $5.4 Billion in 2009 for allergy drugs. As their waist lines balloon (75% of Americans are forecasted to be either overweight or obese by 2020), more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, along with high cholesterol at younger and younger ages. In addition, doctors also recommend treating various diseases sooner than later due to better understanding about the diseases. For example, doctors now prescribe antiretroviral drugs for patients soon after infected with HIV virus instead of waiting for the infection to become AIDS. More doctors combine insulin with oral medicines to treat type-2 Diabetes instead of just oral medicines alone. All these factors increase the size of the drug market.

· Advance in genetic engineering has introduced various new genetic DNA testing kits which allow the genetic diagnosis of vulnerabilities to inherited diseases and disorders. Genetic testing is currently the highest growth segment in the diagnostics industry. Some of these genetic tests will probably transform into direct-to-consumer testing kits available in drug stores in the near future.Upon FDA approval, these new products will potentially bring in additional revenue for drug stores.

· Using a new method of tailoring molecules called structure-based design; drug companies come up with new medicines that they might not have discovered otherwise, e.g. Xalkori by Pfizer to treat lung cancer.

· The passage of Health Care Reform Bill on March 23, 2010 provides insurance coverage to an estimated 33 million more American. This is a great present to the drugstore industry.

· There are new drugs to treat previously untreatable illnesses, and new diseases, e.g. Viagra for men’s unhappiness, Avastin for colon cancer, Herceptin for breast cancer,. The new medicines are very expensive, e.g. a year’s supply of Avastin costs about $55,000. Eli Lilly has sold about $4.8 billion of Zyprexa in 2007 for schizophrenia and yet most people have never heard of this medicine.

· There are existing drugs now approved to treat new illnesses and thus increase their sales revenue. For example, Lyrica was originally intended to treat pain caused by nerve damagein people with diabetes. It is now approved by FDA to treat Fibromyalgia which affects 5.8 million Americans per WebMD.

· Big advances in genetics, biology and stem cells research are expected to produce a new class of drugs to treat diabetes, Parkinson’s and various rare genetic disorders. For example the new drug Ilaris from Novartis targets genetic causes of an inherited disorder that there are only 7000 known cases worldwide. However, Novartis hopes to gradually broaden its drugs to a blockbuster drug to more common disorders caused by similar genetics.

· Technology and modern life introduce and require new products, e.g. pregnancy test kits, Lamisil for stronger clearer toe nails, Latisse for longer & thicker eyelashes, Propecia for male hair loss, Premarin for menopausal symptoms, diabetic monitors, electronic toothbrushes, contact lenses, lenses cleaners, diet pills, vitamins, birth-control pills, IUDs, nutrition supplements and Cholesterol-lowering pills (Americans spent nearly $26B in 2006 on Cholesterol medications alone per IMS Health, a Connecticut-based consulting company that monitors pharmaceutical sales.)

· Before the customers can get to the medicine aisles or pharmacy counters, they have to pass by chocolates, sodas, digital cameras, watches, toys, dolls, beers and wines, cosmetics, video games, flowers, fragrances, and greeting cards. Drug stores hope you use the one-hour photos services there. The stores also carry seasonal items, e.g. Halloween costumes, and “As Seen on TV” merchandise, e.g. Shamwow. As a result, customers buy more than their prescriptions and medicine in these drugstores. CVS reported that non-pharmacy sales represented 30% of the company’s total sales in January of 2007. The figure for Walgreens is 34% and 37% for Rite Aid. Many pharmacy locations are in effect convenience stores especially ones that are in residential or rural areas. And so Walgreens hopes that customers also pick up WD-40, and screwdrivers at its stores instead of at Home Depot; Thai Jasmine rice, and fish sauce to avoid a trip to Safeway or Kroger Supermarkets. During the recession, sales of these non-drug items are down as customers buy what they need and not what they want. Walgreens tries to reduce the number of items by 4000. It also introduces its own private label which has higher profit margins.

· There are more and more generic medications on the market as a number of enormously popular brand-name blockbusters lose their 20-year long patents, e.g. Lipitor (best selling drug in the world to lower cholesterol) in 2010, Viagra (you know what it’s for) in 2012. Drugstores prefer to sell generic drugs to customers due to higher profit margins than the brand-name medications.

· Many people are addicted to pain killers, e.g. Hydrocodone/Oxycodone. Per the DEA in 2012, there are 1.5 million American addicted to cocaine but 7 million addicted to prescription drugs.

· This author estimates that at least 10% of the dispensed prescription drugs are not used at all and sit idle in the medicine cabinets. They are eventually expired and thrown away.

3. These companies sign very long-term NNN leases, guaranteed by their corporate assets. This makes the investment in the underlying property fairly low risk, especially for Walgreens with a S&P “A” rating. In fact, these properties are sometimes referred to as investment-grade properties. Once the drugstore chains sign the lease, they pay the rent promptly and timely. This author is not aware of any properties leased by one of these drugstore chains in which the tenants failed to pay rents. Even when the stores are closed due to weak sales (Walgreens closed 119 stores in 2007), these companies may sublease the properties to other companies, e.g. Advance Auto Parts and continue to pay rents on the master leases.

· A typical Walgreens lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 8-10 five-year options. During primary term and options, there will be no rent increases in most of the leases. This is the main disadvantage of investing in Walgreens drugstores.

· A typical CVS lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-5 five-year options. The rent is normally flat during the primary term and then there is a 2.5%-10% rent increase in each 5-year option.

· A typical Rite Aid lease consists of 20-25 year primary term plus 4-8 five-year options. The lease often has a rent increase every 5-10 years.

Investment Risks

Although the pharmacy business in general is recession-insensitive, there are risks involved in your investment:

1) The main downside about investing in pharmacies is there is little or no rent bump for a long time, e.g. 20-50 years, especially for Walgreens. So the rent is effectively reduced after inflation is factored in. This is one of the main reasons these properties do not appeal to younger investors, especially when the cap rate is low.

2) The 3 drugstore chains now have a new formidable competitor, Walmart. Walmart sells prescription drugs in more than 4000 Walmart, Sam’s Club and Neighborhood Market stores in 49 states. As of 2012, Walmart is the third largest drug retailer with $17.4B in prescription sales, just ahead of Rite Aid with $17.1B in prescription sales. The retail giant is known for launching in 2006 a highly-publicized $4 generic prescription drug program which now sells 350 generic medications for a 30-day supply. The actual number of medications is less as the medications with different strengths are counted as different medications. For example, Metformin 500 mg, 850 mg, and 1000 mg are counted as 3 medications. Walmart probably makes very little profits on these medications if any. However, the marketing campaign–created by Bill Simon, the President and CEO of Walmart US, generates a lot of publicity for Walmart. Walmart hopes to draw customers to its stores with other prescriptions where it has higher profit margins. In an unscientific survey with just one brand-name prescription of Lyrica, this author finds the lowest price at Costco, the highest price at Walgreens and Walmart at the middle. Other drug chains try to counter Walmart in different ways. Target now offers the same 350 generic medications for $4 for a 30-day supply. Walgreens has a Prescription drugs club with membership fee which offers 1400 generic medications for as little as $1/week. CVS says it will match any offers from its competitors.

3) Chief Business Correspondent Rick Newman from US World & News Report predicted that Rite Aid might not survive in 2009. Rite Aid is still around in 2012. The prediction seems to go away in 2012 as Rite Aid as it was able to refinance the long terms debts and sales revenue has increased.

4) Drugs are also sold in thousands of supermarkets, Target stores, and Costco warehouses. However, there are no drive-through windows at these stores or Walmart to conveniently drop off the prescriptions and pick up medicines. Customers will not be able to pick up their prescriptions during lunch hour or after 7PM at Target stores or supermarkets. They need to have membership to buy medicines at Costco. Others may not fill their prescriptions at Walmart because they don’t want to mingle with typical Walmart customers who are in lower income brackets. And some baby boomers don’t want their prescriptions filled at Target or Walmart because there are no comfortable chairs for them to sit down and wait for their medicines.

5) Drugs retail business to some degree is controlled by the Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs). Customers normally get prescription coverage from their health insurance companies, e.g. Blue Cross. These PBM manage prescription benefits on behalf of the insurance companies. In 2012 Walgreens lost a contract valued at over $5 Billion with Express Scripts, a major PBM. Walgreen revenue was immediately fallen in the first quarter of 2012 as Express Scripts customers cannot fill their prescriptions at Walgreens. The PBMs are also in the drugs retail business via mail orders which do not require leasing expensive retail spaces. The prescription mail orders currently capture over 20% market share of the total prescription revenue. Should customers change their prescription purchase habits to mail orders (there is no such evidence in 2012), it could have negative impact to the business of drugstore chains.

6) Many leases in areas with hurricanes and tornadoes are NNN leases with the exception of roof and structure. So if the roof is damaged, you will have to pay for the expenses.

7) The tenant may move to a new location down the road or across the street when the lease expires. This risk is high when the property is located in small town where there is low barrier for entry, i.e. lots of vacant & developable land.

8) The tenant may ask for rent concession to improve its bottom line during tough times. The possibility is higher if the tenant is Rite Aid and if the store has low sales revenue and/or higher than market rent.

9) More Americans are walking away from their prescriptions, especially the most expensive brand-name medicines. This may have negative impact on the sales revenue and profits of drug stores and consequently may cause drug store closures. According to Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solution, a health-care data company, nearly 1 in 10 new prescriptions for brand-name drugs were abandoned by people with commercial health plans in 2010. This is up 88% compared to 4 years ago just before the recession began. This trend is driven in part by higher and higher co-pays for brand name drugs as employers are shifting more insurance costs to their employees.

Among 3 drugstore chains, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies in general have the best locations-at major intersections while Rite Aid has less than premium locations. Walgreens tends to hire only the top graduates from pharmacy schools while Rite Aid settles with bottom graduates to save costs. When possible, all drugstore chains try to fill the prescriptions with generic medications which have higher profit margins.

1) Walgreens: the company was founded in 1901 by Charles Walgreen, Sr. in Chicago. While the company has existed for more than 100 years, most stores are only 5-10 years old. This is the best managed company among the three drugstore chains and also among the most admired public companies in the US. The company has been run by executives with proven track records and hires the top graduates from universities. Due to its superior financial strength–S&P A rating– and premium irreplaceable locations, properties with leases from Walgreens get the highest price per square foot and/or the lowest cap rate among the 3 drugstore chains. In addition, Walgreens gets flat rent or very low rent increases for 20 to 60 years. The cap rate is often in the low 5% to 6.5% range in 2012. Investors who buy Walgreens tend to be more mature, i.e. closer to retirement age. They are looking for a safe investment where it’s more important to get the rent check than to get appreciation. They often compare the returns on their Walgreens investment with the lower returns from US treasury bonds or Certificate of Deposits from banks. Walgreens opened many new stores in 2008 and 2009 and thus you see many new Walgreens stores for sale. It will slow down this expansion in 2010 and beyond and focus on renovation of existing stores instead.

2) CVS Pharmacy: CVS Corporation was founded in 1963 in Lowell, MA by Stanley Goldstein, Sidney Goldstein, and Ralph Hoagland. The name CVS stands for “Consumer Value Stores”. As of 2009, CVS has about 6300 stores in the US, mostly through acquisitions. In 2004, CVS bought 1,200 Eckerd Drugstores mostly in Texas and Florida. In 2006, CVS bought 700 Savon and Osco drugstores mostly in Southern California. And in 2008 CVS acquired 521 Longs Drugs stores in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona for $2.9B dollars. The acquisition of Long Drugs appears to be a good one as it CVS did not have any stores in Northern CA and Arizona. Besides, the price also included real estate. It is also bought Caremark, one of the largest PBMs and changed the corporation name to CVS Caremark. When CVS bought 1,200 Eckerd stores, it formed a single-entity LLC (Limited Liability Company) to own each Eckerd store. Each LLC signs the lease with the property owner. In the event of a default, the owner can only legally go after the assets of the LLC and not from any other CVS-owned assets. Although the owner loses the guaranty security from CVS corporate assets, this author is not aware of any incident where CVS closes a store and does not pay rent.

3) Rite-Aid: Rite Aid was founded by Alex Grass (he just passed away on Aug 27, 2009 at the age of 82) and opened its first store in 1962 as “Thrif D Discount Center” in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It officially incorporated as Rite Aid Corporation and went public in 1968. By the time Alex Grassstepped down as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer in 1995, Rite Aid was the nation’s largest drugstore chain in terms of total stores and No. 2 in terms of revenue. His son, Martin Grass, took over but was ousted in 1999 for overstatement of Rite Aid’s earnings in the late 1990s. Rite Aid is now the weakest financially among the 3 drugstore chains. In 2007, Rite-Aid acquired about 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd drugstores, mostly along the East coast to catch up with Walgreens and CVS. In the process, it added a huge long term debt and is the most leveraged drugstore chain based on its market value. The integration of Brooks and Eckerd did not seem to go well. Revenue from some of these stores went down as much as 20% after they change the sign to Rite Aid. In 2009, Rite-Aid had over 4900 stores and over $26 Billion in revenues. The figures went down in 2010 to 4780 stores and $25.53 billion in revenue. On January 21, 2009 Moody’s Investor Services downgraded Rite Aid from “Caa1” to “Caa2”, eight notches below investment grade. Both ratings are “junk” which indicate very high credit risk. Rite Aid contacted a number of its landlords in 2009 trying to get rent concession to improve the bottom line. In June 2009, Rite Aid successfully completed refinancing $1.9 Billion of its debts. In 2012, Rite Aid benefits from Walgreens contract problem with Express Scripts. Same store sales increased 2.2%, 3.2%, and 3.6% for January, February and March of 2012, respectively. Rite Aid is still losing money in fiscal year 2012 which ended in March 3, 2012. However, it is losing less, $0.43 per share in 2012 versus $0.64 per share in fiscal year 2011. The company expects better outlook in fiscal year 2013.

Things to consider when invested in a pharmacy

If you are interested in investing in a property leased by drugstore chains, here are a few things to consider:

1. If you want a low risk investment, go with Walgreens. In stable or growing areas, the degree of safety is the same whether the property is in California where you get a 5.5% cap or Texas where you may get a 6.5% cap. So, there is no significant advantage to invest in properties in California as the property value is based primarily on the cap rate. In 2012, the offered cap rate for Walgreens seems to come down from 7.5%-8.4% in 2009 to 5.5%-6.5% for new stores.

2. If you are willing to take more risk, then go with Rite-Aid. Some properties outside of California may offer up to 9% cap rate in 2012. However, among the 3 drug chains, Rite Aid has 10.5% chance of going under in 2010. Should it declare bankruptcy, Rite Aid has the option to pick and choose which locations to keep open and which locations to terminate the lease. To minimize the risk that the store is shuttered, choose a location with strong sales and low rent to revenue ratio.

3. Financing should be an important consideration. While the cap rate is lower for Walgreens than Rite Aid, you will be able to get the best rates and terms for Walgreens.

4. If you are not a conservative investor or risk taker, you may want to consider a CVS pharmacy. It has BBB+ S&P credit rating. Its cap rate is higher than Walgreens but lower than Rite Aid. Some leases may offer better rent bumps. On the other hand, some CVS leases, especially for properties in hurricane areas, e.g. Florida are not truly NNN leases where landlords are responsible for the roof and structure. So make sure you adjust the cap rate down accordingly. Some of the CVS locations have onsite Minuteclinic staffed by registered nurses. Since this clinic idea was introduced recently, it’s not clear having a clinic inside CVS is a plus or minus to the bottom line of the store.

5. All 3 drugstore chains have similar requirements. They all want highly visible, standalone, rectangular property around 10,000 – 14,500 SF on a 1.5 – 2 acre lot, preferably at a corner with about 75 – 80 parking spaces in a growing and high traffic location. They all require the property to have a drive-through. Hence, you should avoid purchasing an inline property, i.e. not standalone and property with no drive-through windows. There is a chance that these drugstores may not want to renew the lease unless the property is located in a densely-populated area with no vacant land nearby. In addition, if you acquire a property that does not meet the new requirements, for example a drive-through, you may have a problem getting financing as lenders are aware of these requirements.

6. If the pharmacy is opened 24 hours a day, it is in a better location. Drugstore chains do not open the store 24 hours day unless the location draws customers.

7. Many properties may have a percentage lease, i.e. the landlord can get additional rent when the store’s annual revenue exceeds a certain figure, e.g. $5M. However, the revenue used to compute percentage rent often excludes a page-long list of items, e.g. wine and sodas, tobacco products, items sold after 10 PM, drugs paid by governmental programs. The excluded sales revenue could account for as much as 70% of store’s gross revenue. As a result, this author has seen only 2 stores in which the landlord is able to collect additional percentage rent. The store with a percentage rent is required to report its annual sales to the landlord. As an investors, you want to invest in a store with strong gross sales, e.g. over $500 per square foot a year. In addition, you also want to check the rent to revenue ratio. If the figure is in the 2-4% range, the store is likely to be very profitable so the chance the store is shut down is low.

8. It does not matter how good the tenants are, avoid investing in declining, e.g. Detroit and/or low-income areas or small towns with less than 30,000 residents within 5 miles ring. In a small town, it may be the only drug store in town and captures most of the market share. However, if a competitor opens a new location in the area, revenue may be severely affected. In addition, the tenant can always moves to a new location down the road when the lease expires since there is low barrier to entry in a small town. These properties are easy to buy now and hard to sell later. When the credit market is tight, you may have problems finding a lender to finance these properties.

9. Many properties have an existing loan that the buyer must assume. If you have a 1031 exchange, think twice about buying this property. You should clearly understand loan assumption requirements of the lenders before moving forward. Should you fail to assume the existing loan (assuming an existing loan is a lot more difficult than getting a new loan), you may run out of time for a 1031 exchange and may be liable to pay capital gain.

10. With few exceptions, drugstore chains do not own the stores they occupy for several reasons. Here are just a couple of them:

– They know the pharmacy business but don’t know real estate. Stock investors also don’t want Walgreens to become a real estate investment company.

– Owning the real estate will require them to carry lots of long term debts which is not a brilliant idea for a publicly-traded company.

11. About 10% of the drugstore properties for sale and typically CVS pharmacies require very small amount of equity to acquire, e.g. 10% of the purchase price. However, you are required to assume an existing fully-amortized loan with zero cash flow. That is, all of the rent paid by the tenant must be used to pay down the loan. The cap rate may be in the 7-9% range, and the interest rate on the loan could be attractive in the 5.5% to 6% range. Hence, the investor pays off the loan in 10 to 20 years. However, you have no positive cash flow. This requires you to come up with outside cash to pay income tax on the rental profits (the difference between the rent and mortgage interest). The longer you own the property, the more outside cash you will need to pay income taxes as the mortgage interest will get less and less toward the end. So who would buy this kind of property?

– The investors who have substantial losses from other investment properties. By acquiring this zero cash flow property, they may offset the income from the drugstore tenant against the losses from other investment properties. For example, a property has $105,000 of rental profits a year, and the investor also has losses of $100,000 from other properties. As a result, the combined taxable profits are only $5,000.

– The uninformed investors who fail to consider that they have to raise additional cash to pay income taxes.

Out of the Box Thinking

If you put too much weight on the S&P rating of the tenants, you may end up either taking a lot of risks or passing up good opportunities.

  1. A Good location should be the key in your decision on which drug store to invest in. It’s often said a lousy business should do well at a great location while the best tenant will fail at a lousy location. A Walgreens store that is closed down later on (yes, Walgreens closed 119 stores in 2007) is still a bad investment even though Walgreens continues paying rent on time. So you don’t want to blindly invest in a drug store simply because it has a Walgreens sign on the building.
  2. No company is crazy enough to close a profitable location. It does not take rocket science to understand that a financially-weak company like Rite Aid will make every effort to keep a profitable location open. On the other hand, a financially-strong Walgreens will need justifications to keep an unprofitable location open. So how do you determine if a drug store location is profitable or not if the tenant is not required to disclose its profit & loss statement? The answer is you cannot. However, you can make an educated guess based on the store’s annual gross revenue which is often reported to the landlord as required by the percentage clause in the lease. With the gross revenue, you can determine the rent to income ratio. The lower the ratio, the more likely the store is profitable. For example, if the annual base rent is $250,000 while the store’s gross revenue is $5M then the rent to income ratio is 5%. As a rule of thumb, it’s hard to make a profit if this ratio is more than 8%. So if you see a Rite Aid with 3% rent to income ratio then you know it’s likely a very profitable location. In the event Rite Aid declares bankruptcy, it will keep this location open and continue paying rent. If you see a Rite Aid drug store with 3% rent to income ratio offering 10% cap, chances are it’s a low risk investment with good returns and the tenant will most likely to renew the lease. The weakness of corporate guaranty from Rite Aid is probably not as critical and the risk of having Rite Aid as a tenant is not really that significant.
  3. Drug stores with new 25 years leases tend to sell at lower cap, e.g. 6-7% cap on new stores versus 8.0-8.5% cap on established locations with 5-10 years remaining on the lease. This is because investors are afraid that the tenants may not renew the leases. Unfortunately, lenders also have the same fear! As a result, many lenders will not finance drug stores with 2-3 years left on the leases. The fact that drugstores with new leases have a premium on the price means they have potential of 20% depreciation (buying new at 6% cap and selling at 7.5% cap when the leases have 8 year left). Some investors will not consider investing in drug stores with 5-10 years left on the lease. They might simply ignore the fact that the established stores may be at irreplaceable locations with very strong sales. Tenants simply have no other choices other than renewing the lease.



Source by David V. Tran