Tag Archives: shared appreciation

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.

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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)

0901 2012 New non-debt financing alternatives for homeowners and small businesses as an economic stimulus tool – the crowdfunding of a FARJHO homeownership structure or a SwapRent contract

This is a topic that I have published and blogged about (see historical blogs on these issues at http://swaprent.com/blog) many times before within the past 6 years since the creation of SwapRent in 2006 and FARJHO in 2009. The more I blogged about it each time through the years, the more it seems that it has carried on much more new meaning as our country’s economic situation evolves. With the recent fast paced development of the crowdfunding movement, the potential crowdsourcing availability of the funding for the new FARJHO homeownership structure and the SwapRent home financing method have become more and more relevant.

Let me start out by repeating the urgent need of developing a few new non-debt based financing alternatives, not only just to reform our country’s housing finance system for the sake of increasing affordable home ownership, but also to help create economic stimulus and create jobs for middle class Americans on Main Street.

Debt should not be the only way to finance home ownership but unfortunately mortgaged homeownership seems to have been the only consumer choice made available to the American people for centuries until today. We will need to educate the public, the academic, the government agencies and the lawmakers alike to help create the conducive regulatory structure, make available and foster the growth of the free market, non-debt based financing alternatives for both homeowners and property owning small business proprietors.

Without going into technical details, both the SwapRent and FARJHO business methods were simply created to realize the common economic concept of property equity sharing or property appreciation sharing. SwapRent took one step further by not only being just a new method to implement an old concept, but also introducing a new economic concept altogether. Instead of sharing up-front equity to realize sharing appreciation profit potential and the associated downside risks, SwapRent uses a cash flow sharing concept and method to let investors share potential upside appreciation in property value and the downside risks of losses with the property owners directly via a online portal marketplace REIDeX.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 .

Within the past few years, the current administration has repeatedly called for the creation of green jobs to help revitalize the national economy while the opposition party plans to create the same old black jobs by trying to do more fracking of we homeowners’ backyards. Irrespective of the debate outcomes on what kind of green, black, pink or blue jobs to create, the 64 thousand dollar question is still on how to come up with additional money to fund new jobs creation via creating new economic stimulus. It is really the greenback, not the green jobs, that is going to get us out of the current economic dilemmas.

While the Monetarists at our Federal Reserve Board propose we continue to print more greenback, Keynesian economists believe we could continue to shanghai the Chinese to cough up more money to finance our national debt in order for the policy makers to conduct more conventional government led fiscal stimulus projects, Solyndra included.

Perhaps, it is time for these policy makers to think outside the box now. What if, just what if, we could create a new free market based business method that could provide fresh new capital into our economy by encouraging free market investors to voluntarily pump their own money into the system, not for charity, but for the potential possibility of making financial profits from the long run recovery of the US economy, materialized through the increased property value of homes and real estate properties throughout the country that they got to “partially” own when they voluntarily agreed to pump their money into our economic system.

Since neither the new alternative housing finance system of SwapRent or the new home ownership structure of FARJHO are based on a lending concept but rather a tradable co-ownership equity financing concept to help our nation de-leverage, it does not have to rely on a low interest rate environment to be effective to create jobs and to stimulate our nation’s economic growth. It is in fact neutral to the interest rate levels and it has its own dimension in influencing the macro-economic activities so to speak.

Therefore, once a SwapRent or a FARJHO market has been established, the Fed or central banks in other countries could raise interest rates at any time, as they see fit, in order to prevent growing further asset bubbles, to fight potential inflation or to save the value of the national currency from potential devaluation without having to worry about its potential impact on hurting the chances of an economic recovery.

The relevance of SwapRent or FARJHO to job creations is based on how entrepreneurs and local small businessmen could create new monthly income cash flows by willingly giving up partial future property value appreciation of their own homes or other properties that they own. This potential appreciation may or may not even be realized by the horizon date (e.g. 2, 3, 5, 8 or 10 years from now) given the current economic situation. Through property equity sharing or appreciation sharing to attract fresh capital injection into the local economy, the potential appreciation in property value could actually be artificially created via a self-fulfilling prophecy as more money could chase up the property prices.

The local entrepreneurs could then pool these new monthly cash flows obtained directly from these new programs to say open a new local restaurant together and hire more people to create jobs or to make any other new investments directly right at the grassroots level on Main Street. They would not have to worry about getting this new found fresh capital injection into the local community to be fleeced on Wall Street first or being diverted by some smart bankers to invest in and stimulate other foreign country’s economies altogether simply for personal gains.

These additional monthly income cash flows would become the local home owners discretionary disposable income that would make them the ideal consumers with a new found consumption power to purchase the goods and services from the small business owners in the local communities.

For the existing home or property owners, a 100% ownership of a future zero appreciation scenario by horizon date is still zero, a partial shared 50% ownership of a future 20% or 30% appreciation scenario of their own properties driven by the new fresh capital injection into local communities induced by the SwapRent program or the FARJHO new homeownership structure will translate into a 10% or 15% (one half of the 20% or 30% total appreciation) gain for themselves.

It would seem a much better deal to co-prosper rather than being left poor alone. Meanwhile with the new swapped current monthly income streams they could enjoy perhaps an additional flat screen TVs purchased at local malls for their family, leasing another new electric hybrid car from local car dealers or eating out more at the local restaurants that the local entrepreneurs had just opened by using the new cash flows obtained through these same SwapRent programs. Wouldn’t this be the American way as usual on a pure free market basis without having to pile up any more debts or to raise citizen’s taxes?

In terms of helping reduce the current foreclosure rate, the homeowners who see the signs of an imminent swift recovery of the local property market will think twice about their earlier plans to walk away from their distressed homes. The only way for homeowners to feel that they should not purposely make a strategic default and walk away from their properties seems to be to somehow make them feel that they might be missing out on a swift recovery if they do walk away, another free market decision making process.

The key new economic concept for these proposed programs to work well is for the policy makers to change from a socialist oriented ideological focus on preferential rescue treatments for distressed homeowners that may most likely cause moral hazards, to “a free market based reversible exchange transaction of a part of future appreciation potential of the properties that they own for a perhaps very generous current monthly income cash flow now” offer which is open to all property owners and may be expediently targeted at a few specific high concentration foreclosure-infected neighborhoods that the banks may have exposures to for the best initial pilot project demonstration effect.

In a sense, the more participation by local property owners and free market investors to the SwapRent program or the FARJHO method the more additional fresh new capital would be injected into the local community through the new third party economic landlord investors. That is exactly the reason why these new innovative programs will have to be open to all property owners to participate without discrimination for the long haul, not just for the distressed homeowners on a short term rescuing mentality. Open up more innovative ways to let the free market forces rein and the economic prosperity will happen at its own swift pace.

If the government wants to take a token leadership, all the government policy and lawmakers need to do is to create law and order to become a good game keeper of these new proposed housing finance system and business methods, no tax payer’s money would ever need to be involved.

Based on pure free market principles, the more people there are in the “targeted neighborhoods” to sign on to this new program the more likely the local property markets and the local economic prosperity will indeed recover and the more likely free market based investors will step on each other’s shoulder to rush to inject fresh new fund into the local communities directly through this new free market mechanism. As a result the more the SwapRent contracts or FARJHO co-ownership member interests will indeed appreciate in value due to the property market recovery that will hence reward the initial SwapRent monthly cash flows or FARJHO up-front equity providers. This new economic concept of a farming approach to wealth creation is indeed a self-fulfilling prophecy in the true spirit of capitalism. The more you sow, the more you might reap.

Wealth creation by enhancing property value in this equity based manner is by no way creating malignant asset bubbles again. Low interest rates will. Malignant asset bubbles are formed when buying interests were created from using borrowed money (or OPM, other people’s money) where owners have an on-going obligation to service debts. The SwapRent or FARJHO approach by nature is based on a tradable economic version of the shared equity financing concept. Equity financing means that owners do not have to service any interest burden of debts. Therefore the benign asset wealth value created this way is not like leveraging created malignant asset bubbles made up of hot air that are usually doomed to burst. The analogy could be more like igneous rocks cooled from molten lava for equity based asset bubbles. This is simply the inherent more stable nature of equity financing vs. debt financing.

When these new alternative tradable equity based home financing objectives have been met, residential real estate properties or homes ownership will soon join corporations to become the dual engines of economic growth of our capitalism society, one for small business and the other for big business. Home financing through debt alone can not make that dream happen, as has been clearly illustrated by the current housing led financial crisis.

Without the stabilization factor of equity, debt financing only creates boom and bust cycles. Therefore instead of a policy of continuing to push banks for more loose credit at this very moment to repeat what had brought us here to begin with, it may make better sense for our government to consider helping the private sector entrepreneurial entities look for new ways to increase the shared equity-based home financing by creating more conducive legal and regulatory framework to let free market forces help our economy prosper.

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

0303 2012 What is the difference between the cash flow sharing SwapRent solution and a Shared Appreciation Mortgage? – SwapRent is similar to a separate flexible employment contract substitute to hold on to the house

When I said before SwapRent was a bit ahead of its time since its birth in 2006, I meant that most people were unfamiliar with what economic value it could bring. After the financial crisis, most economic policy makers were still learning what property equity sharing concept is and what methods are out there that could be used to solve our current housing led economic crisis. Sadly after more than 5 years, it still appears that the law makers, financial regulators, economic policy makers of the federal governments are only starting to realize the value of the concept and making recommendations for the private sector banks as well as the GSEs, housing agencies to learn how to apply these concepts through the only term in this equity sharing field that they know of, i.e. shared appreciation mortgage.

As one of the most superior and advanced methods to deliver the economic benefits of property equity sharing, ownership sharing or appreciation sharing, the SwapRent related methodologies have been made available to private sector banks, housing finance agencies of the federal, state and local governments through various direct communications and educational campaigns since 2007. It seems that all those efforts were in vain. Now that these supposedly wise men at the government are being called upon by the politicians to study the application of shared appreciation mortgage again to solve the housing finance led economic problems of our country. So let’s take another try to see whether they could comprehend it now or are willing to think outside the box to learn something new.

The new creation of a SwapRent transaction is to allow a free market exchange, between an arms length investor and a property owner, a series of cash flow payment responsibility for a period of time vs. a portion of the upside appreciation right and the downside depreciation risk obligation of the property in question at the maturity date of that cash flow paying commitment time period.

This new SwapRent contract could be flexibly offered separately, super-imposed on and be artificially attached to a conventional mortgage, be combined as a package and/or be detached at any time so that the SwapRent contract could be traded by itself independently, like a free market based derivative financial contract, in an open exchange to allow price discovery and capital regeneration. It is therefore much more flexible, effective, efficient and useful than the old, obsolete, flaw-ridden and rigid shared appreciation mortgage, the shared equity mortgage that have been around for more than 30 years as well as their most recent reincarnation of shared ownership mortgage.

The unfortunate thing is that these academics and economic policy makers whose task is to study, research and come up with a better mouse trap than the old shared appreciation mortgage simply went straight back into those old, obsolete, flaw-ridden and rigid shared appreciation mortgage concepts and methods again. They do not seem to be able to jump out of that old mortgage box to start thinking outside the box. The longer these incompetent policy makers continue to squat on their jobs the more our country’s economy will continue to hemorrhage. It appears a competency issue that only history will prove on hindsight.

Anyway, since the information of the SwapRent based solutions have been made widely available in many written articles at this blog, at SwapRent home page, in many published newspapers and academic journals already, there may not be a need to repeat all those info here again. Let’s take a quick look at what SwapRent concept can do on more than helping cure distressed non-performing mortgages and assisting home owners to hang on to their homes instead.

The way to think of this swap between receiving a series of monthly cash flows vs. giving up a part of the future upside potential could be interpreted and applied to many other events in our daily economic lives.

For example, use you yourself, the body and mind owner, as a case in point. You, like all of us, have a need to receive a series of monthly cash flows to buy groceries to feed your family and pay rent or mortgage payments for your home as a shelter. After you have applied for a job and been hired by your employer, you have effectively entered into a SwapRent transaction. Your boss has simply agreed to provide you with a series of monthly cash flows (your salary) for a period of time (your employment contract period) in exchange for your upside productive potential. Whatever you could produce for the company during the contract period will simply become the company’s material or intellectual properties and become exclusively the company’s financial rewards. Even if you have a great money making idea and developed a patent on it, that would become the company’s property and the company will make all the upside financial rewards out of that patent and all your other future economic productivity to make the patent financially valuable.

On the other hand, if you are an entrepreneur or a small business owner, you receive no fixed monthly cash flows from anybody else since you have no boss but you get to control your own destiny and get to enjoy the entire upside potential rewards of your own talents.

Similarly, what the SwapRent related concepts and methods were originally designed to do for you, the real estate property owner, as a comparison case in point, is quite similar. You may have a need to receive a series of monthly cash flows to pay for a part, or in whole, your monthly mortgage payments which may become delinquent when you have lost your job, either completely or got a lesser paying job instead. So you could, out of free will, decide to give up a part, or in whole, the future financial price appreciation potential of your home property in exchange for receiving the series of monthly cash flows that you need now to continue to keep the legal ownership of your house. If you do not receive any cash flows from any body else, you would of course get to enjoy the entire potential upside appreciation, i.e. assuming you have some other non-free market based magical way that you would not get foreclosed.

In this example above, the new concept and method of the cash flow sharing SwapRent contract simply provides another way for you to obtain a series of monthly cash flows to meet your daily responsibilities in your economic life. Taking a job was the only choice in our capitalism society before. Now with the invention of SwapRent, you the consumer, have been given another free market based choice, if you happen to own a real estate property already.

From an employer’s or an investor’s perspective, the way for them to derive more upside financial returns and grow economic potential for their capital and resources, they could either hire a person by giving him/her a series of monthly cash flows to enjoy the whole upside of his/her talents through a job or an employment contract, or they could simply provide a series of cash flows to a property owner in exchange of either a part, or in whole, of the upside financial appreciation potential of his/her property for a period of time.

I hope the analogy provides a better way to understand what the new SwapRent transaction is about and what kind of power it could provide as an additional consumer choice alternative to our daily economic lives on a pure free market basis.

0114 2012 Will a new US President make any difference in helping create a housing recovery and revitalize our economy?

Here below is an excerpt of my upcoming FARJHO article to be published in March.

Governments who set up policies using those ill-advised primitive methods (e.g. the original HOPE for Homeowners proposal in 2008) have only destroyed people’s confidence in the equity sharing concept to solve the problems and let the mortgage foreclosure problems deteriorate further day by day. The Hope for Homeowners (H4H) Program is a loan program that was a part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. The guidelines for the product were released by FHA on October 1st, 2008.

In the original HOPE for Homeowners (H4H) offering, the Federal Reserve together with the HUD Team proposed a non-free market based arbitrary equity sharing scheme for debt principal reduction as (Ref 3)

100% if the property is sold after 1 year

80% if the property is sold after 2 year

70% if the property is sold after 3 year

60% if the property is sold after 4 year

50% if the property is sold after 5 year

There were few takers. Any further consideration by other national policy makers and economists of using equity sharing related concepts to solve our country’s severe housing-led economic problems on a large scale also quickly died with it too for now. The incompetence of these policy makers is indeed very unfortunate and lamentable.

The worrisome part is that even when the top level politicians change posts later on these same technical middle level managers may still be the ones that will continue to squat on the same positions at the Fed and at the HUD since these subject matters may be deemed too technical for the top level politicians or top level policy makers to mess around with.

Will a new President make any difference?

0819 2010 How and when to apply the new FARJHO (Flexible And Reversible Joint Home Ownership) structure?

The following information is on how to apply the new economic concept of the separation of shelter value (use value) and the investment value (economic value) of a conventional ownership of a real estate property. For more details please visit our commercial site at http://www.InvestorsAlly.com or our non-profit operations at http://www.PeoplesAlly.org to assist low income working families with increased housing affordability and enhanced neighborhood stability.

Example 1 – From aspiring home owner’s perspective:

A home seeking person who currently rents identifies a property in a geographical area of his/her choice. He/She has the 10% of the property in cash from his/her own savings and would like to seek to jointly own the property with other investors as the ideal home owning structure.

The reasons could be because that he/she may not have enough monthly income to qualify for a conventional mortgage, prefers to use the discretionary monthly income for other household expenses, does not think the property value may increase in the near term, for his/her particular religious belief that rejects the lending/borrowing concepts or simply any other personal preferences.

He/She commits to pay a pre-agreed rent to the FARJHO LLC that holds the title of the property for a specific period of time. The remaining 90% property ownership could be shared among up to nine other individual, corporate institutional or even governmental entities.

Example 2 – From joint property investor’s perspective:

A group of investors have identified and bought a particular single family house at bargain price through a syndicated LLC structure either through a short sale process or from a bank’s REO portfolio.

The syndicator of the FARJHO LLC tries to find a long term renter of this single family house in order to generate stable long term rental income. Many renters do not commit to the long term and do not usually care about the houses that they rent.

The syndicator/property manager makes an offer to a qualified renter who has the ability to pay for a small percentage of the property value and invites him/her to join the LLC as a minority stake holder/member himself/herself. Once the renter becomes the minority homeowner, he/she may intend to stay for the long term and would treasure the property and take good care of it as thought it were his/her own. In fact it is indeed his/her own, albeit partially. Although he/she does not have the economic income capability normally required to own the property entirely he/she gets to enjoy the high quality home in the neighborhood of his/her choice.

Through buy/sell agreements between LLC members, the homeowners could increase his/her equity ownership through buying existing member’s interests. Alternatively, he/she could use SwapRent contracts to do so when they become available at REIDeX in the near future. In the worst case scenario, he/she could also become a LLC member in another property in the same neighborhood whenever he/she has the increased economic ability to do so and would like to have more investment exposures.

Comparing with conventional commercial property investments, FARJHO offers property investors less worries about vacancy and expenses. The investor’s SGI (Scheduled Gross Income) equals to his/her GOI (Gross Operating Income) and also to his/her NOI (Net Operating Income) since both annual vacancy loss and expenses are most likely zero in a FARJHO structure.

Example 3 – Current application opportunities in the US:

A homeowner currently has a deeply underwater house. He/She contemplates a strategic default on his/her own house but does not like the idea of becoming an apartment renter. A buy-and-bail strategy sounds more appealing to him/her. He/She could use an all equity based FARJHO (SM) structure to become the minority owner/renter of an alternative property in his/her neighborhood before he/she begins discussions with his/her current mortgage lending bank to give up his/her existing homes in either a short sale or a flat out walkaway foreclosure.

The strategic defaulters usually could not secure another mortgage to buy another comparable home before or after he/she walks away from his/her existing home. To qualify for a new mortgage on a second home, he/she has to either have 30% net equity in his/her existing home or a very large fully documented monthly income to qualify for the mortgage payments of two homes. This is often not the case with most upside down homeowners.

An all equity based FARJHO co-ownership structure makes it convenient for a smoother transition to a long term comparable or even nicer and often more spacious home through a partial equity ownership without having to lose the homeowner status by becoming a conventional apartment or house renter. It may turn a somewhat embarrassing, face-losing event into a move-up in prestige as a partial owner of a much bigger and nicer house!

Example 4 – How to use borrowing (through Borrow-Pool-Buy, BPB method) to achieve leveraged higher investment returns under FARJHO:

In a FARJHO transaction, each individual member co-owner can decide whether to borrow for their portion or not. Cash rich investors do not have to borrow. No group decision or action to borrow together is necessary. If some of the co-owner members want to borrow individually for themselves, then the borrowing leverage (LTV) is up to each of the members individually and their individual lenders using the percentage ownership in the legal entity or the corporation as the collateral.

So let’s say a home which is worth $100,000 is being bought by a FARJHO LLC. Three members, A (20%), B (40%) and C (40%) pooled the capital to form the LLC to begin with so that the LLC had the money to buy the home. LLC did not and will not borrow any money or use the property as collateral to borrow any more money. Since neither the FARJHO LLC nor the home property itself owes any money, therefore there is no possibility of a foreclosure of the home property, ever!

Member A was supposed to be the home occupier (AHO), so he pays the LLC a market based rent every month for 3 years say in a 3-year lease as an example. It could be any lease maturity and will be determined by all the members in the LLC.

In terms of borrowing, Member A did not borrow to come up with the $20,000 since he would not want to pay a loan payment in addition to the rent payment very month. Member B does not like to be burdened by the debt service so he did not borrow to come up with the $40,000 cash either. Member C likes to punt and strongly believes in using leverage to achieve high returns. On the other hand, he does not have enough money for the required $40,000. Say he only has $10,000 in savings so he borrowed $30,000 from a lender using his 40% share or member interests in the LLC as the collateral for the lender. The leverage that Member C uses is 75% LTV of his partial member interest in the LLC and his down payment equals to 25% of the value of that partial member interest.

So in the example above, cash was used to purchase the property entirely and no borrowing using the property as the collateral was involved. Borrowing activity, if any, will be conducted only at the member level at each member’s discretion only. That is exactly the spirit of the new FARJHO concept and method to own homes, irrespective which country the homes or the home owners are located.

Example 5 – Section 8’ed FARJHO – AHOs who are Section 8 rent payment assistance recipients

A current Section 8 rental assistance payment recipient inherited $50,000 from his parents. She does not want to put it in the stock market or any mutual funds which she is not familiar with and she thinks those Wall Street stuff are too risky. She wanted to use it to buy a home but the amount is not big enough to buy in an all-cash deal. She can not use it as a down payment to borrow any mortgage because no lenders would be interested in talking to her due to her low income status. The lenders do not believe that she could generate enough monthly income to service a mortgage payment.

She heard about the new Section 8’ed FARJHO program from the local housing authority from her city. She found out that she could team up with a few free market based Joint Property Investors (JPIs) to form a FARJHO LLC to buy a home together and get the new home qualified as a Section 8 property. She could then simply apply the rent payment assistance from the existing Section 8 program as the rent payments to the FARJHO LLC. In this way she would not only just be a renter but also become a partial home owner under this FARJHO arrangement.

Since she is not restricted to renting from a multi-family apartment complex in the run-down districts only, she decides to buy a REO single family house from the Fannie Mae Homepath program in a decent neighborhood as her dream home. The cost of the house is $300,000 in a city in Southern California. In this FARJHO structure she would own 1/6 of the equity ownership of the FARJHO LLC.

The remaining balance of the house price was paid by five other free market based investors. Investor A and B who put in $30,000 each are individuals using their retirement money in their respective IRA accounts. Investor C who put in $100,000 is a local public employee pension fund. Investor D is a foreign individual and he put in $40,000. The remaining $50,000 was put in from an individual property speculator who prefers to use leverage to enhance the potential investment returns. He put down $10,000 cash and borrowed $40,000 so that he could deduct the interest expense for this investment.

The Section 8 recipient gets $1500 monthly rental assistance from HUD every month. She contributes an additional $200 so her total monthly rent paid to the FARJHO LLC is $1,700. This equates to an annual rental yield of 6.8% to all members of the investor group in the FARJHO LLC which the Section 8 recipient/renter herself is also a member of. That is her annual investment income for each year she stays in as a 1/6 interest member. In addition, she will also enjoy the financial value of 1/6 of the potential appreciation of the home property.

The free market based investors are interested in teaming up with the Section 8 recipient over other regular higher income AHOs because they might think, rightfully or wrongfully, the credit risk is much lower since the bulk of the income rent payments would come from the assistance of Uncle Sam!

08/18/2011 FARJHO – securitization of home equity vs. securitization of mortgages, SwapRent – real estate derivatives vs. mortgage derivatives

This is a short blog post to clarify the difference between the securitization of home equities (home equity securitization) and the securitization of mortgages (mortgage securitization) as well as the most commonly misunderstood term of real estate derivatives by the some people vs. what they really meant, mortgage derivatives.

The key to understand the difference is to know that the underlying assets are quite different. One is equity in nature, the other is simply a debt. While there are often blatant abuses of debt by both the borrowers and the lenders through loose credit policy and practice, it is not possible to abuse the equity in the same way.

As I mentioned before in many earlier blog posts, securitizations and financial derivatives are extensions to either equity or debt like how glass-and-steel buildings could be built upon a foundation. If the foundation is a solid rock then the chances of the building to collapse is not much a concern as it would be if the building was built on slippery quick sands. So the problem is not the building but rather the foundation where the buildings are located.

Similarly the problems are not as much with either the securitization concept or the financial derivatives rather as with whether they were built on plain equity, conservative low leveraged debt or the risky over-stretched debt conducted on a loose credit practice.

FARJHO LLC member interests are ownership in the equity form just like corporate shares listed in the stock exchanges are in the form of equity. The purpose of FARJHO is to “corporatize home equities” or to “securitize home equities” for the various economic and social benefits discussed in details in earlier posts. It has nothing to do with any debt, loans, mortgages or financial derivatives. It is definitely not in any shape or form, a securitization of mortgages again.

It is as simple as a common stock of companies but the ownership represents a fractional interest in a homeowner’s home property instead, that is made possible by this new FARJHO concept.

SwapRent, on the other hand, is a new consumer version of equity based real estate derivatives or alternatively called, property derivatives. It is not a mortgage or a mortgage derivative. It is the various forms of mortgage derivatives, credit derivatives, CDOs, Credit Default Swaps etc. that have played a major role in the financial crises within the past few years, not these new “real estate derivatives”.

Therefore, although there seems to be plenty of hostility by certain people about financial innovations, mortgage securitizations, mortgage derivatives, the responsible, intelligent and educated consumers should have no problem in understanding that FARJHO and SwapRent are not related to any of those that have caused controversies in the past. Furthermore they should be regarded more as social innovations in housing and new home ownership concepts than purely another financial innovations for facilitating investors to make money more easily. Even though they do that as well, and they do it much more efficiently.

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