Tag Archives: FARJHO.com

1202 2012 Conference speech – FARJHO as a solution to the scaling problem for property investors

I spoke last week as a panel speaker on the scaling issues for investors at a conference for institutional investors to treat single family residences as a new asset class for institutional investment. The conference is dubbed “Single Family Aggregation : REO to Rental Forum – A Forum for Private Equity, REITs, Institutional Investors and Bank Rent-to-Own Programs” organized by IMN on November 29 to 30 at Scottsdale, AZ, http://www.imn.org/Conference/Single-Family-Aggregation-Strategies/Short_Agenda.html. The following link is a copy of my presentation slides “Introduction to FARJHO and SwapRent”,
https://www.box.com/s/wmyjnwhzm8yagrf9gjkx.

Until today, institutional investors such as corporate pension funds, insurance companies, university endowments and non-profit foundations have not been able to treat the single family homes as a separate investment asset class. What is the main reason?

Single family homes, unlike a multi-family residence apartment building, are usually spread out in many different sub division development projects in the suburbs. The management of the entire operations that include the maintaining each individual property with its own landscaping and the dealing with the tenants are usually much more demanding and difficult to handle. As a result, the annual yield derived from the rental income for institutional investors would be reduced for the increased cost to manage these diverse groups of properties spread out in a larger number of geographical locations.

In addition, the turn-over of the renters for single family homes would be much higher since over the past decades, with the easier credit and low interest rates, eager mortgage brokers have found tenants of single family homes as easy preys to sell a mortgage to. “Why rent when you could own at a cheaper cost?” Owners of single family homes hoping to rent would have suffered from much lower annual rental income yield due to the high renter turn-over and higher operational cost for the property maintenance. That by the way also seems to be one of the major reasons why our country has had the sub-prime mortgage induced economic problems at the moment.

The new FARJHO invention which basically turns renters to become co-owners with the property investors at the same time, seems to have solved these problems by killing the two birds in one single stone for property investors. Since the renter would have a vested interest as a co-owner with the other joint property investors in the FARJHO LLC that owns and holds the title of the home property – vacancy will most likely be near zero and the cost to hire a third party property manager is totally eliminated. The renter who is also a co-owner of the property could become the best property manger, care taker, house sitter, business partner for the rest of the joint property investors than a pure renter without an equity interest in the property would ever be. To understand this better, simply ask yourself when was the last time you ever washed a rental car? This seems simply to be another way that the invisible hand of Capitalism is at work again.

As result, both retail investors and institutional investment funds would no longer have to worry much about either potential vacancy or incurring the expense of hiring a third party property manager any more since renters would have a skin in the game with the other investors, and hence, much secured higher yields derived from rental income for all the property investors.

What we plan to do is to use our technology platform at http://FARJHO.com to act as a service provider to institutional funds, accredited investors and/or retail investors from the crowd, i.e. crowdfunding, to find like-minded aspiring and existing homeowners who are interested in the all cash based FARJHO transactions to co-own homes across the country without involving anything related to the conventional home loans or mortgages. The timing will be subject to the successful publication by SEC of the Crowdfunding Rules under the JOBS Act which has been scheduled at the beginning of January of 2013.

In parallel, a currently work-in-progress project of a homeowner’s social networking portal http://WeHomeowners.com or http://WeHomeowners.org will also be set up under our 501(c)(3) non-profit PeoplesAlly Foundation (http://PeoplesAlly.org) for existing homeowners who may consider switching to FARJHO home ownership structure some time in the future. This may even allow the Section-8 tenants to own a small piece of the home equity of a single family home anywhere of their own choice via a Section 8’ed FARJHO that I had blogged about before, instead of having to rent only in a multi-family apartment located at a run-down neighborhood.

1001 2012 Obama’s HARP, Romney’s housing plan, Bernanke’s QEs or the new equity sharing FARJHO under JOBS Act? – with lyrics from Loca People

It is presidential election season again, so we have started to hear more about the candidates’ economic plans. Nothing attracts more attention from the public than the housing issues. Within the past weeks, we have Romney having revealed his housing plans, Obama having pushed again for his HARP, but  none of them has anything economically new to offer other than using it as another chance to repeat the partisan ideological preaching and the fight over whether government led programs vs. the presumed free market ways to let our country’s housing finance problem heal itself may work better than their political rival’s plan. It seems that they only care more about a simple old fashion plan that appears to work better than the other’s plan rather than supporting an innovative plan that will indeed work but that may incur political risks to introduce.

Disappointed, without getting a satisfactory answer in both of their plans, so I went to the Federal Reserve again. There I found out that Chairman Bernanke and his cohorts were still pumping out nothing but even more and more QEs. All day, all night … All day, all night … All day, all night … Nothing but more QEs to push for more loans, more leveraging and more easier credit, hoping not only to bring us back but to further turbo-charge us to where we had started this whole financial mess from to begin with over a decade ago … I can almost hear Bernanke dancing and chanting at the Fed, Viva la Hipoteca! Viva le Prestamo, Viva los QEs! What the Beep!

So I called up my friend Johnny. I said to him, “Johnny, La gente esta muy loca!”

Well, jokes aside, what we really like to do is to ask those politicians with a real workable housing plan please stand up. For the right, it is easy to just say let the free market heal itself. Free market solutions without the government leadership or competition without rules would indeed simply lead to either a crony capitalism or a ruthless predatory free-for-all anarchy. For the left, once they have replaced the crony capitalism and they’ll easily end up with even worse power hungry crony socialists.

What we need is perhaps not yet another round of old ideological political debate now, but rather some educated rational thinking and technically competent debates of what the new and economically innovative ways may be to own homes without piling up more debts as well as what the new technologically efficient and productivity enhancing ways are to deliver these new economic benefits to the consumers without being misguided and fleeced by unscrupulous financial middlemen yet again. These real stuffs to fix our faulty housing finance system may seem to be what the politicians need to focus on in order to bring the real tangible benefits to our country.

This is the 6th year since I have been researching, publishing and blogging on the various economic benefits of using property equity sharing or cash flow sharing concepts and methods to offer many new alternatives to our current faulty exclusively mortgaged home ownership centric housing finance system. Many of these new findings and creations are available to my personal academic research web site, http://swaprent.com.

More detailed info on the SwapRent original creation process in 2006 is available at https://www.box.com/s/437c60e4d8931365b9e4 and on SwapRent application in the 2009 JHFI (Journal of Housing Finance International) by IUHF (International Union of Housing Finance) paper at https://www.box.com/s/feae725ede7042c53412. For the much simpler FARJHO solution, here again is the link to the FARJHO white paper, https://www.box.com/s/cc0de069ab5c3fd3007e.

Thanks to the democratic power of the Internet, SwapRent and FARJHO have conceptually and academically been gaining momentum and endorsement day by day with a world-wide audience. We are currently preparing to solidify these new innovative ideas and beta launch these new consumer services at the transaction oriented http://farjho.com and a broader social networking portal for home owners, http://wehomeowners.com as our free market based solutions to our country’s housing finance problems. The purpose is perhaps much more mission driven than financial. Since these new services could also be offered on a not-for-profit basis, i.e. through PeoplesAlly Foundation (http://peoplesally.org), we do need many supporters from the crowd to come on board to help us make these new consumer services a reality.

As explained in earlier blog posts, due to the recent breakthrough by a few visionary law makers with their innovative regulatory provisions of crowdfunding and the relaxed marketing rules of private placement funds contained in the JOBS Act, we may finally see the light at the end of the tunnel in bringing these new inventions to life as new free market based consumer services soon.

Viva la Innovation, Viva la JOBS Act, Viva la FARJHO!

(Quoted lyric above from “Loca People” by Sak Noel)

Crowdfunding of Home Equity at FARJHO.com – How crowdfunding could help solve our country’s housing finance problems

This blog post first appeared in Huffington Post on 8/7/2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ralph-liu/how-crowdfunding-could-he_b_1752633.html

Ever since the JOBS Act was signed into laws by President Obama on April 5th this year, the enthusiasm on crowdfunding has mushroomed in just about every corner of America. Many people with some technical Internet knowledge would rush in to start a crowdfunding portal to help American create more jobs through helping entrepreneurs raise equity financing. Many more are anxiously waiting to utilize the new found channel to raise money for their own business start-ups from regular investors over the Internet.

At InvestorsAlly’s FARJHO.com, we have coincidentally also been trying to provide the matching services between aspiring home owners and prospective joint property investors to co-own homes through a new innovation home ownership structure called FARJHO (Flexible And Reversible Joint Home Ownership) over the Internet within the past few years.

The concept of connecting consumers directly via Internet used be to called a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) method of matching individual consumers with similar desire to consummate a transaction of a common interest, be it a dating service or a financial transaction. Going back a little bit further to the 90’s, this matching of retail consumers directly through the power of the Internet used be more popularly categorized simply as the Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) e-commerce. So crowdfunding appears to be nothing more than another jargon as the latest variation in the evolution spectrum of the Consumer Internet service, although technically speaking it is more a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) e-commerce since the relationship seems to migrate from a one-to-one to a one-to-many relationship. The new break-through to suddenly let out the pent-up interests in crowdfunding is really on the regulatory side. Kudos to those visionary law-makers!

As for the coincidental parallel innovation on the housing finance side, FARJHO is a new way to implement the old property equity sharing concept that has been around for more than 30 years, although primarily more popular in the UK. Those older equity sharing methods did have many growing pains and never made it to the mass consumer market. Inventions in social sciences would provide new economic values just as technology inventions do. The distinguishing features of FARJHO as a new business method to implement the equity sharing concept are three-fold:

First, FARJHO allows renter/home occupier and joint property investors to own only one home at a time in order to maintain the sanctity and the freedom of the single family residence ownership. This is in sharp contrast to many community oriented equity sharing methods of Co-ops, Land Trusts, Kibbutz or hippy-ish Commune types of older equity sharing methods.

Second, as a brand new concept, FARJHO introduces and allows only member level debt financing to eliminate the foreclosure possibility which exists with the conventional property level debt financing that are commonly used by a Shared Equity Mortgage (SEM), a Shared Appreciation Mortgage (SAM), a Shared Ownership Mortgage (SOM) or any other existing equity sharing schemes to date. In all those older business methods, the home occupiers could still get foreclosed whenever they lose their monthly income capability. The concept of FARJHO is to move people from a Pool-Borrow-Buy (PBB) method to a Borrow-Pool-Buy (BPB) method in joint home ownership.

Third, FARJHO provides a natural built-in buffer to conventional renting to avoid potential eviction when the tenants temporarily lose their monthly income capability. The equity stake of the renter/co-owner of the FARJHO structure could act as an optional voluntary collateral against missed monthly rent payments and therefore provides property investors with enhanced investment security through less credit risks and at the same time provides the tenants/co-owners with more home occupying stability during the rainy days in their working lives.

Although we at InvestorsAlly have received overwhelming positive response and a very strong market demand from home owners under our various educational test marketing programs conducted in Southern California within the past two years, due to the prior securities laws related regulatory concerns, we have not been able to officially market the FARJHO service freely in a massive scale. Now with the new crowdfunding provisions of the recently passed and signed JOBS Act to be enacted by the SEC by the end of the year, we have accordingly been preparing to position and may finally be able to launch our FARJHO.com as a dedicated crowdfunding portal site as the authoritative marketplace for crowdfunding of home equity, one home at a time, through the new home ownership structure of FARJHO. This will be a giant step towards realizing a stock market for home equities.

The reason why this new regulatory crowdfunding business opportunity development could be made possible to be applied to housing finance is that the proprietary new home ownership structure of FARJHO that we have coincidentally been working on for the past few years basically corporatizes each home in America one home at a time. Since each home will be treated as a business venture via a simple LLC legal structure under FARJHO, the new crowdfunding regulatory provisions could therefore be conveniently applied to housing finance for the first time. The reason why we have adopted the LLC legal structure is that using LLC to hold real estate properties is a tried and true method in commercial properties for many decades already, even though they have been used with an opposite purpose to FARJHO as far as leveraging is concerned.

The portal site will provide free membership to homeowners around the world similar to how Facebook does for individuals with all the social networking capabilities but our homeowner members will have a specific hope of selling their homes, buying another new home in whole or in part, investing a small part of a few other member’s home equities as an investment portfolio or simply obtaining occasional short term financing through selling fractional shared equity of their own homes through the new FARJHO home ownership structure.

There could be many more other free market based new consumer choices made available to solve our country’s current housing finance problems by this new FARJHO service to free people up from the current dominant mortgaged home ownership that often results in foreclosures and hence has created many financial problems and social instability to our economic societies. Furthermore, it may lay the proper free market foundation for further future benefits to grow upon with even more innovations that we could not even foresee at this moment.

For example, the use of property equity sharing as a temporary non-debt based financing alternative for small businesses to obtain funding to created jobs, the use of property equity sharing or cash flow sharing concepts and methods for the governments as a new third alternative economic policy management tool (vs the existing fiscal and monetary policies) to provide stimulus or to slow down an overheated economy, … etc. (more detailed policy tool examples are available in Chapter 6 of the SwapRent application paper at https://www.box.com/s/feae725ede7042c53412 )

FARJHO.com aspires to become the first entrepreneurial venture to bring new housing related economic benefits via crowdfunding to the American consumers under strictly free market principles by harnessing the power of social innovations, Internet technology advancements and the timely regulatory foresights.

A copy of the original FARJHO creation white paper could be downloaded through this following link. https://www.box.com/s/cc0de069ab5c3fd3007e

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