A Quick Market Newsletter

A short post tonight.  Here is a link to a useful free financial newsletter from Axiom Financial.  The format has remained the same for several years and provides a quick weekly update of market conditions.


Image from Axiom Financial

Image from Axiom Financial


Cash on Cash Returns for Rental Properties

Financial Place Online test fired their “Complete Landlord Calculator” today.  The first test involved what is referred to as “Cash on Cash” return.  The “Cash on Cash” return is the percentage of annual cash received vs your initial investment.  This is an important return as it defines how your investment cash flow looks.  A negative return indicates that the house is sucking up money.  Higher positive returns can be had with better management of the underlying financials such as interest rate, purchase price, and rent received.  A higher rate can also be had by increasing the amount of leverage of your investment capital.

Leverage of Capital:  The ratio between your invested capital and the purchase price of the asset.  In the case of a $50,000 investment and a $50,000 purchase price, the leverage is 1:1, or more simply expressed as 1.  However, if the investment was $5,000 for the same $50,000 asset as would be done through using the bank’s money to cover the other $45,000, the leverage would be 10.  A higher leverage will return a higher rate of return for investments who return a rate greater than the weighted averaged cost of borrowing.

The problem with using leverage is that negative returns get exaggerated in the same way.  This deals with both cash flows and a decrease in value of the underlying asset.  Using the $50,000 asset with a leverage of 10, a $5,000 drop in value wipes out all of your investment, since the bank still needs to be paid.  In most all cases, the bank has secured the loan by your asset, so they will be the first to be paid in case you have to sell.

The below chart shows an example case of “Cash on Cash” returns plotted against the amount invested.  The investment being examined has the following characteristics:

  1. This is a house priced at $150,000
  2. Your out of pocket closing costs are $1,500
  3. The mortgage is for a 30 year term
  4. The interest rate is 4%
  5. The rents collected is $1200
  6. Property management takes 10% of rents collected
  7. Occupancy rate is 95%.  Many rental markets are on fire right now
  8. Property taxes at $1500 per year
  9. Hazard insurance is $300 per year

Cash on Cash>>> The chart shows a very high rate of return in the case of 0% down (just the $1,500 closing costs).  From here the rate of return decays exponentially until it flattens near 6.5%.  This amount is the unleveraged rate of return.  Again, remember that too much leverage can be dangerous.  In the case of residential real estate, a healthy amount of leverage can be had between 10% and 30%, and will vary from opportunity to opportunity.  There was entirely too much dealing done during the sub prime era of real estate lending where 0% down deals were permitted on rental properties.  The highly leveraged cash flows swung to the negative after the crash and many investors did not have the cash on hand (which is why they did 0% down) to cover the losses, and thus lost their businesses.


How to earn an extra $500 a month: Part 2

house-under-constructionIn part 1 of this article on how to make an additional $500 per month, FPO explored some rather capital intense methods for bringing in some extra income.  These methods are reasonably low risk, but they are also low return.  There are times, when tying up such a high amount of funds in not feasible.  In those cases, there is the opportunity to exercise some leverage by using the bank’s money.

Are there risks in this? Absolutely.  But there is in everything, including “risk free” savings accounts.  Preservation of principal is guaranteed, but so is loss due to inflation.  the risk of your money dropping in value is ever growing in this case.

The fundamental concept is to borrow at a rate less than your rate of return.  The classic example would be buying an investment property to rent out.  Using the $70,000 example from earlier, this same house can be bought with a loan at a current market rate of 4% with 25% down.  Now the initial investment is $17500 and the monthly loan payment for a 30-year loan is $250.  The net rent collected will be the same $500 as in the previous case, however the net amount after the mortgage payment is $250 extra per month.  In order to get the extra $500 per month, two houses of this type must be bought, or one house of approximately twice the cost.  Going with a single house would result in house that’s a little more than twice the cost as the rent amount versus the purchase price ratio decreases as home price increases.  It’s not a linear relationship.

The above example employs a reasonable 3:1 leverage.  More can be achieved.  In this example for the single $70,000 house, an additional $10000 is borrowed using a business loan at 10% for 30-years.  This rate is higher, but since it’s only $10000 of the total cost, the weighted average cost of debt is still favorable.  This 10:1 leverage scenario carries more risk, but only $7500 per house is needed.  The total income would be $500 per month, and the new payment would be $316 per month, leaving a net income of $184.  This is less than the last example since another $10k is borrowed.  In this case 2.7 houses would be needed to reach that $500 per month.  The total amount that the investor would need to bring to the table under such a scenario would be a little over $20000 to get the $500 per month extra income.  The added benefit is that the houses are also being paid off by rents collected over time.

There is a caution here. 10:1 leverage is very leveraged.  The above examples were done with rental properties, however this will work for most any asset class, including stocks.  In the Case of stocks, this is referred to as a margin account.

Part 3 will discuss some ways that an extra $500 a month of income can be created by making opportunities for yourself, both within your current job and various side jobs.

How does a reverse mortgage work? What determines the payment amount?

A reverse mortgage is a financial product using your existing primary residence as collateral.  The borrower must be at least 62 years of age in the U.S.  There are various ways the cash flows can be worked in a reverse mortgage.  The product is similar to the annuity.  One type of a reverse mortgage is where you “sell” your house today for monthly payments of a certain amount and remain in the house until your death.  The part of remaining in your house is what is different than an annuity.  In the case of an annuity, you won’t have access to the funds used to purchase the annuity once it’s purchased.  In addition, a reverse mortgage is not considered a sale, by standard sales definitions.

The key part of a reverse mortgage is staying the fact that the borrower will be staying in the house as their primary residence.  It is part of the terms and conditions.  Moving, selling the house, or dying all bring the loan due.  A reverse mortgage is also heavily loaded with fees.  Origination costs of 2%, upfront insurance of 2%, and your effective rate of borrowing are all higher than other products using your house as collateral.  The good news, is that there is a way to emulate the reverse mortgage using other financial products.

A reverse mortgage can be approximated by taking a “cash out refinance” on your house and using the proceeds to buy an annuity.  Using our previous example of an annuity of $100k paying $6250 a year:

  1. The homeowner has a house worth $100k and is completely paid off
  2. The homeowner takes out a $100k cash out refinance (or home equity loan) with interest only payments
  3. The $100k is used to purchase the example annuity
  4. The homeowner receives $6250 a year from the annuity, but must pay the cost of the cash out refinance
  5. The interest only payments at 3% would be $3600 a year
  6. Your net income from an arrangement equivalent to a reverse mortgage is $2650 a year or about $221/month.

There is one small concern on the above arrangement.  Interest only mortgages are not particularly common.  It is more likely that this arrangement would be worked with a 30 year mortgage instead, and the extra amount in house payment would start to build equity back into the house.

This arrangement can also be worked between a variable home equity line of credit and a variable annuity.


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