Investing in pre-construction real estate is one of the most profitable investing opportunities available in the market today. Even though it’s a fairly old strategy, very few investors have a good understanding of it. Preconstruction real estate investing can be best explained with an example:
A developer is planning to build a 100 unit condominium development in a very popular location. The developer has already worked out the numbers and thinks that the project will make a handsome profit. Since he doesn’t have the required amount of capital to complete a project of such magnitude, he approaches banks to request financing.
But before banks lend out millions of dollars to the developer, they want to know that the project has the potential to sell after completion. Since there is no way to know the future and banks like to reduce risk as much as possible, they require the developer to pre-sell a certain number of the units (usually 25%-50%) before they will lend money. In this example a bank agrees to finance the developer if 40% of the units are sold before construction begins.
There are very few home buyers who are going to commit to buying something without actually seeing it with their naked eyes. So the developer has no choice but to approach real estate investors who understand the risk and reward of such ventures. In order to reward these investors for their risk, the developer gives them a 10% discount off the appraised value (after construction value) of the condos if they sign a purchase agreement (contract).
This creates a win-win situation where the developer is able to secure financing and the investors are able to get built-in equity by getting the property below appraised value. The investors who buy these condos before the construction is completed are called pre-construction investors, and this investment strategy is called preconstruction investing.
In this example it was a development from the ground up, but the term “pre-construction investing” can be used for any purchase made before the actual completion of a real estate development. The development may be from ground up or just a renovation project i.e. A condo conversion project where preconstruction investors buy before the renovation is complete is also an example of pre construction investing.
In general, pre construction pricing is 5% – 15% lower than the market value of the finished property. Sometimes the developer may offer other financial incentives instead of a price discount. Some examples include cash back after closing, closing cost credit, free upgrades, rental guarantee or lease back, paid property taxes, waive assessments waived, management fees waived, etc. However, in most cases the developer will offer a combination of a price discount and other financial incentives in order make the deal sweeter for preconstruction investors.
After the construction or renovation is complete, pre construction investors’ have two options to exit. Either they sell their property and make a quick profit, or they can hold the property as a long term investment and build equity. Sometimes investors can also profit by assigning the contract to a fellow investor for a small profit even before assuming title to the property.
Below is summary of the process of preconstruction investing:
The pre construction investor buys a house, condo or townhouse from a reputed developer in the preconstruction phase at a price discount and/or other financial incentives. The pre-construction investor waits for the construction or renovations to be completed. After completion of the construction or renovation, the preconstruction investor sells the property immediately for a profit. Or the pre construction investor holds the property to build additional equity due to appreciation and by paying off principal using the rental income. In some cases, exit by assignments is also possible.
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