When legendary baseball player Ted Williams – arguably the greatest hitter who ever lived – became a coach and mentor to younger players, he had two pieces of advice:
- Watch the ball
- Be quick!
While Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investors do not have to try to hit a 100-mile-per-hour fastball from Bob Feller, like Williams did, they still have to be quick: Homes are spending 32 fewer days on the market than they did just a few years ago, according to Realtor.com. Buyers are snatching up properties as fast as they come on the market. And Self-Directed Real Estate IRA investors need to swing a very quick bat in order to have a chance to acquire the assets they need to provide their retirement income portfolios down the road.
Here are some expert tips on how to invest in the fastest housing market we can remember.
- Do not rely on traditional lenders, unless you are pre-approved. The average conventional loan now takes nearly two months to underwrite and process according to EllieMay.com. Self-Directed IRA and Self-Directed Real Estate IRA mortgages tend not to take as long, since they must be non-recourse loans, they are underwritten based on the value of the property, rather than on income, which can be difficult to document.
But conventional mortgage companies and garden-variety banks are not known for speed in processing. Do not wait until you are bidding against multiple qualified buyers before lining up the financing or getting cash on hand.
- Pay cash. This is the ultimate dealmaker: Cash is and always will be king, when it comes to getting a deal through quickly. If you have the cash to buy a home on the spot, you have the leverage to get a better price. This price advantage translates to a profit advantage down the road for your Self-Directed Real Estate IRA.
It also leads to a lot less wasted time. Every deal that falls through because you are too slow represents a loss in terms of wasted time and effort that you could have spent on a deal that succeeds.
- Include a check with the offer. Ideally, you can attach the check for the full purchase amount made out to escrow along with the offer. If not, or if you need to attach some strings to the deal, attach a check for a few thousand dollars in “earnest money.”
- Focus on homes that have been on the market for a while. Many times, the sellers are frustrated. They know they have priced their homes too high – but they probably are not getting too many offers these days. Buyers are flocking to the new listings. You may be able to get a good deal.
- Do not let it slip you are in a hurry. Sellers can smell desperation and will drive a harder bargain. Make a good, fair offer at a discount from the home’s intrinsic value (you are an investor, not a retail buyer, after all), and be willing to walk away if the seller walks. If they know you are willing to walk, they are more likely to accept a reasonable offer immediately.