Between Christmas and New Years, hard money loan #9 was paid off. I made a couple thousand dollars on it. I'm leaving my principle with my partner for investing in another loan when he finds a good one.
Over Christmas, we had some out-of-town relatives staying with us and one night, my brother-in-law handed me a real estate listing for a property that was literally down the street from my house. It was listed for $90,000! Being that I live in the neighborhood, I know that property was worth at least $250,000. So we walked down the street to look at the house. It was night, so we couldn't see much, but we could tell it was still occupied. It looked to be in good condition on the outside. The listing said it had a pool. Back at home, I did some more research. Obviously, this was a foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, but I couldn't find anything in my search of public records. No notice of foreclosure auction, no judgments against the owner, nothing. If I had to go based on my research, I'd say the owner was not in any sort of financial difficulty at all.
The following day, I called the listing agent and asked if the $90,000 price was correct. He said it was, although he had received offers so far up to $150,000. He confirmed it was heading to auction. The agent's cell phone cut out, so I didn't get more info, but it sounded good.
The average selling time for properties in the neighborhood is 6 months. I ran some numbers on the conservative side - using an 8 month holding time, below market selling price, etc. and the results looked pretty good. For an all cash deal at $160,000, they could get about a 42% annualized return in that 8 months. Unfortunately, they had no funds available, so they had to pass. I passed as well, since most of my funds are tied up in hard money loans right now. Too bad.
One interesting thing is that I found the original note for the loan on the property and it was for more than $90,000. More than the current high offer of $150,000. That must mean they are trying a short sale, which means the lender would need to approve the final sales price. I would have thought the listing agent, who was a Realtor, would have mentioned this. I also suspect the $90,000 listing price was deliberately set low to attract potential buyers. I'm not sure about the ethics of this and I'm not sure what requirements Realtors have in setting the initial asking price, but it seems like a used-car salesman trick to me.
In other news, my progress towards rolling my IRA into a self-directed Roth IRA is slowly moving forward. For tax reasons, I had to wait until 2010 before I could do the actual conversion. I'm going about this in a couple steps. First, I am converting my Rollover IRA to a Contributory (Traditional) IRA. They are basically the same thing, but my CPA tells me the law that allows me to spread out taxes on the Roth conversion for two years only specifies conversions from a Contributory IRA to a Roth, not a Rollover. The law will probably be changed to fix this, but just to be on the safe side, I'm taking this extra step. The second step will be to convert the Contributory IRA to a Roth IRA. I will do this at the brokerage the IRA is currently at. The third and final step will be to transfer that Roth IRA to a company to who will set up the self-directed IRA. I am currently leaning towards the iTrust offered by NAFEP.
I am currently at the first step in this process and imagine it will take a couple of months to get everything all set up.