A few weeks ago, the first part of this series, "Getting Started", http://activerain.com/blogsview/684869/Investing-in-Real-Estate-Getting-Started-1 gave you an overview of the eight different types of real estate investments. Today we are going to learn more about this category.
What this investment is: A lease option (L/O) is Acquiring control of a property (though not necessarily ownership), then leasing the property to a tenant. The lease is bundled with an option, so the tenant can (but does not have to) purchase the property for a given price within a given time frame. Again you are seeking a tenant for a property, but usually for a slightly longer term (12-18 months) and frequently (though not always) with the goal that the tenant purchase the property from you at the end of the lease. If you purchase the property, then it's an easier process; if you find a highly motivated seller to let you re-lease the property to another tenant, it can be a lot of work to set up. However, the re-lease method doesn't require any cash out of pocket and does not rely on your credit score, so it is appealing to many investors. Great for beginners with the right skills and attitude.
Equity needed: If you get seller financing, potentially just a few thousand dollars for your operating account. If you purchase the property, 10% down (best case); more likely 20% down.
Importance of credit: If you leverage seller carry, not important at all. If you purchase the property, credit is important. A 720 FICO score would help a lot. Being able to document your income and your assets will be critical.
Importance of experience with contractors: Some exposure would be helpful, but you are not likely to encounter construction projects any more difficult than you have maintaining your own personal residence.
Important of experience with property managers: Not important; the majority of our clients manage their own rentals when they get started. We run classes on how to do this from time to time. Go to http://www.yourcastle.org/events.cfm to see when the next session is.
Next week, we'll continue to explore lease options in more detail!