How a 3% Interest Rate Cost Me Over $180,000 (Avoid My Mistake)

In This Article “Subject to” real estate has been exploding in popularity. When mortgage rates began to rise, subject to (often called sub to) came in as the hero to save the day. This real estate investing strategy offered investors the chance to take over low-interest-rate loans from homeowners who wanted to sell their properties. And, with often a minimal down payment required, new and experienced investors lined up to give this fast-scaling strategy a try. Without even knowing it, Tanner Litchfield did the same. After being brought a home run, three-percent mortgage rate deal, Tanner knew he had to act quickly to secure what would be a massive passive income play. He put down a six-figure down payment to secure it, with another seventy thousand dollars in renovation costs. Things were rolling smoothly until…they weren’t. Tanner lost every penny he put into this property and the property itself while another investor walked away with it in hand. How did this happen, and how do YOU avoid a six-figure creative financing mistake? In today’s episode, Tanner walks through every difficult detail of this deal gone wrong. He shares the red flags he should have seen in the beginning and the one thing that could have saved him from this deadly deal. If you’re interested in seller financing, subject to, or any other type of creative financing, you MUST listen to this episode, or you could be hit with a six-figure loss, too. Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts. Listen to the Podcast Here Read the Transcript Here Dave:Subject two, otherwise known as sub two has been a hot new strategy in the real estate community recently. You can sometimes put no money down. It’s a great way to scale your portfolio and in a lot of ways it sounds like a win. But what happens when sub two deals go wrong and loans get called? What if you had $180,000 on the line today? We’re going to talk to someone who had just that happened to him. Hey everyone, I’m your host, Dave Meyer, and with me today is Henry Washington. Henry, thanks for joining us. Henry :What’s going on Dave? Thank you for having me. So today we’re talking with an investor named Tanner Litchfield, who is a seasoned investor who got burned by a sub two deal. Today we’re going to go through his story and discuss what the risks of sub two deals are. What happens if a loan gets called due and how to prevent losing money or the deal in total with this potentially risky strategy. Yeah, Dave:I’m looking forward to this conversation because I think it’s important with any strategy, whether it’s sub two, flipping short-term, rentals, whatever, to present both the risks and the rewards, the upside, the downside, the potential pitfalls of every real estate strategy. So that’s what we’re trying to do here today with this conversation with Tanner. Let’s bring him on. Tanner, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us today. Tanner :Of course, I’m happy to be here. We Dave:Want to hear about your story and experience with doing a sub two deal, but let’s first just learn a little bit about you and your investing history. How long have you been an investor? Tanner :I’ve been investing for about six years now, since 2018. Dave:Nice. What made you get into it? Tanner :It’s funny because it’s the cliche I was going to be a dentist. I thought I was going to just make this money and be free the rest of my life. And then I decided do I actually want to dig in people’s teeth for the rest of my life? No, I do not want to do that. So then I was trying to get creative on a way that I could make money and provide for my family for the long term and real estate is what popped up. So I made that shift in college. I jumped into sales but doing real estate on the side. So it was like that for a while now. Yeah, I don’t know if I’m answering your question exactly. Dave:No, it’s great. It’s the classic dentist to real estate investor pipeline. We hear about that all the time. Tanner :Really? Is Dave:That real? Henry :No, but usually they end up becoming a dentist and then they end up passively investing, like being somebody’s lender, they really don’t get into it like you did. So that’s pretty cool. Tanner :Yeah, there’s too much college ahead of me. I was like, I can’t do that. Henry :So when you started, what were the strategies that you were using to do your deals? Tanner :Yeah, that’s a great question. The reason I’m here is because James Dard, so he’s a local superstar in the Seattle area. That’s where I was born and raised. So I really got intertwined into the Seattle real estate market and Thatch Na Win was one of big personal mentors that helped me along the journey. So really his methodology of the Burr value add real estate is what I got started in. So the more traditional back when you could refinance, have a three point something interest rate and it was fine. And so that’s how I started the beginning of my portfolio. And then as the market started shifting in 2022 rates started jumping up, I shifted to the creative finance world. So that’s where I’m at today. Henry :So what was your level of experience by the time you shifted to creative, how many deals had you done? It had been what, three, four years? Paint that picture for me. Tanner :I had a rental portfolio of probably 10 units and then a few flips in between. So maybe 15 to 20 deals up until the time I converted to creative finance. So like Henry :A decent level of experience. Dave:So you knew what you were doing As much as any of us knows what we’re doing. I dunno, Henry :That’s the secret. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. Dave:Don’t tell them that Henry. No, just kidding. But obviously you had some experience so you weren’t just jumping into creative right away. But what of all the different creative financing strategies or ways that you could go with your investing career, why did you ultimately settle on sub two? Tanner :And that’s a great question and I’m glad that you brought it up because I don’t think in my mind I was going after a sub two deal. I think in this creative finance seller finance world, people group it all into seller finance, creative finance, they’re all treated equally. And that’s one of the big lessons I want to portray is that they, they’re completely different. And so I wouldn’t say that I was after a sub two deal, I was after a low interest rate that would yield cashflow. And so when I found that deal just so happened to be sub two that was uncovered later, I had no idea about all the risks. Here we are today. And Dave:Just so everyone knows when we talk about creative finance, there are a lot of different sub strategies or tactics within creative finance and seller finance is one of them. Sub two is a different one. Both of them, as Tanner just alluded to, do offer opportunities, at least in today’s environment to get lower interest rate than current market rates. If you were to just go out and get a new mortgage, because a lot of these strategies focus around either assuming an existing mortgage or in the seller finance case you’re working with someone who owns a property outright and they’re essentially working as the bank. And so they’re much more, they’re not really restricted in what kind of terms that you can use and there’s just a lot of flexibility. Tanner :A hundred percent. Dave:So Tanner, tell us how did this deal come Tanner :Along? So I’ll start at the basics of it. I had moved to Utah. I’m fresh to Utah. Keep in mind, I had moved from Seattle, I’m new in Utah, working on my network, don’t know a lot of ton of people. I had just sold a live-in Flip in Kirkland, Washington. That was the biggest deal of my life. I was sitting on a ton of capital, I was eager to put it to work. And I went to lunch with who I viewed as a player in the Utah market. I didn’t know a ton, he just seemed like he knew his stuff. So I went to lunch with this guy and he proposed that he had this deal that was a 3% interest rate, 2014 build in an area of Salt Lake City. I ran the numbers, they looked good. This guy didn’t portray himself as a wholesaler. Tanner :And so as someone that wholesales here and there myself, I’m not talking crap on wholesalers per se, but there are some levels of protection I throw up if someone is a wholesaler. This guy was doing a lot bigger deals apparently. And so that layer of due diligence was kind of out the window for myself. Long story short, I bought the deal from this guy. There was another investor on it and I had to submit my earnest money to snag it. The numbers penciled. I viewed this guy as someone who I could trust. I asked about all the risks being new to the creative world and I was sold on it. Dave:So any of us, Tanner was looking to grow his portfolio and he’d gotten connected with a deal that looked great on paper. So what happened next? Where did things go wrong? We’ll get into that right after the break. Henry :Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast. We are here with investor Tanner Litchfield talking about a subject two deal. He learned a lot from, let’s jump back in. Dave:Alright, well I do want to hear more about the deal, but I think it’s important that we dig into this person that you found this deal with. How did you meet this person? And if you didn’t think he was a wholesaler, what were you expecting the relationship to be? Tanner :I viewed this guy as almost like his expertise. He could have been a mentor to me. He was doing multimillion dollar deals in other states, way bigger deals than I was ever involved in. And so he had this level of trust because I was doing much smaller things than him. Henry :Were you introduced to him through somebody else or is this somebody you just kind of reached out to because you saw what they were doing? Tanner :Yeah, this was from a Facebook group. So keep in mind I didn’t know really anyone here in Utah. I’m using Facebook groups to try and leverage and network and grow my network from there. And so he was responding, he was contributing. We got lunch. I found out a lot more about him and that’s kind of where it led from there. Henry :And I don’t want people to think it’s wrong. It’s not a bad idea to meet connections in Facebook groups. I don’t think that’s where you’re saying things didn’t go the way you planned. It’s just sometimes we see these people doing these things that we think are amazing and incredible and we somehow associate trust with that. And so then when you get involved with them, you’ve given them this unearned trust which takes your walls down in terms of due diligence. Is that what I’m hearing kind of happened with this relationship? A Tanner :Hundred percent. Dave:Yeah. I think that’s a good point, Henry, the networking we talk about all the time is super important. But as Tanner is telling us, obviously it’s very important to vet and perhaps even get references for these people. But let’s learn a little bit more about how this deal unfolded, Tanner. So you said it was a 3% interest rate, you weren’t necessarily looking for sub two. How was the financing piece of this deal presented to you? Tanner :It was presented as seller finance. To me it was sixes. I didn’t know the difference between seller finance sub two, I had the 3% interest rate. And to be honest, this was very premature. The listeners and you guys are probably like, why would you jump into a deal not understanding the difference, the risks associated? That was one of the biggest mistakes on my part. Henry :You know what you say that man, but there’s probably a lot of people listening who absolutely would jump at the chance at a 3% interest rate deal even if they didn’t fully understand the difference between the two. Because I mean 3% interest rate is pretty attractive in today’s market. That’s how people are capturing this elusive cash flow, right? Or how they think they’re doing it. So you took the bait that a lot of people would take. Don’t feel too bad about that. Tanner :The bank account hurts enough. Yeah, it’s a good lesson to Henry :Learn. So how did the deal unfold? Were you then connected directly to the seller? Was there intermediary this whole time? How much direct impact did you have on setting up the rates and terms and getting the deal closed? Tanner :Yeah, I had zero involvement in that negotiation part. The wholesaler at play was working with a listing agent who they were formulating the offer and I had no say in contracts, no say in negotiation, here are the terms I’m going to take ’em over. And in the wholesale world and the off market world, which a lot of people don’t realize where the best deals are, quotation marks, the earnest money is non-refundable. So as soon as you submit your earnest money, you’re locked in or else you’re losing that. Dave:Did anyone ever tell you you’re essentially getting a loan from the seller? Because that would be traditional seller finance that the seller is acting as a bank. At what point did you realize that you were doing a sub two and were taking over the payments for the existing loan? Tanner :So I think in the contract work when I was signing things, I recognized that part, but I didn’t know what that meant. So I recognized that I was taking over payments for someone. I didn’t recognize the risks associated. Dave:I see. And so when did you bought the deal assumably that the closing all went fine? At what point did things start to turn? Tanner :So I bought the property, I put $110,000, I rehabbed it, which in this case the rehab was just finishing the basement. I put 70,000 into refinishing the basement. I put renters in there. Keep in mind now the cashflow is great. It’s coming in. I am happy. Things are rolling. And then this is the big kicker. I get a text from my tenant who’s lived there for a month and a half with a letter posted on the front door that this property is going to auction. Dave:Whoa. Okay. And so how long is this term? The close. So how long did the rehab take before you put that tenant in? For six weeks. Tanner :This is like three or four months after I’ve closed on this property. Okay. Dave:And so you’re just sitting there, why on earth would this be going to auction? Tanner :Yes, exactly. So I’m freaking out at this point. I’m talking to the wholesaler, I’m talking to the listing agent, and their words to me are, this is completely normal, this is fine. We’ve handled this before, we’ve been able to revert it back. You’re totally good. So then next steps are they convert it to a contract for deed. Contract for deed means. Now my title, my deed, my certificate of ownership is now being transferred back to the original owner and that is supposed to save a due on sale clause. Dave:Okay. So Tanner, let just interrupt for a second. So is the reason they were saying it was going to auction is because they had called the loan due or what was the justification in the first place? Tanner :Yes, they were calling the note due. Dave:And did they give you a reason? Tanner :I didn’t uncover the true reasons until a few steps later. Dave:Let’s keep going chronologically. So yeah, sorry, I just wanted to understand. So they were calling the loan due and just for our listeners, this is one of the things that comes up as a potential risk factor in sub two is that when you assign a mortgage over to someone else that the bank in, not in all cases, but in many cases does have the option to just say like, no, we don’t want to do that, so we’re going to essentially end the loan and ask that you repay us. Henry :Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. I was like the due on sale clause is always there for banks in this situation. Because if you think about how a loan works, the bank vets the buyer to determine if they are comfortable lending to the buyer on this piece of property. And since technically the buyer has changed hands, there’s a clause in these mortgages called the do on sale clause, which allows them to go ahead and say, Hey, you know what, we’re just going to go ahead and call the entire note due because we don’t want that. Tanner :So yeah, I get that note posted on the door, it’s going to auction, I am freaking out. I’m talking to the wholesaler, I’m talking to the listing agent. It’s completely fine. We do this all the time. We convert to a contract for deed. Notary comes to my house, I give the ownership back to the seller. So now the bank can’t call a due on sale supposedly because the original seller still has title anyways through the grapevine, I was told the reason the due on sale clause was called because of arrears of 20 grand that the wire never reached the bank. Now keep in mind, through the title company, I saw that I paid 20,000 in arrears as part of my down payment. So now I’m freaking out what happened with my money? Did this actually get paid? Anyways, they claim that they’re just figuring out the wire. All was good. Now, a month later after I thought this was resolved, I get another text from my tenant with a new letter that has a specific date of the auction. So now I am livid. I’m no longer trusting the wholesaler. I’m no longer trusting the listing agent. Now it’s in my power. Should have done this a lot earlier obviously. So I get an attorney. I just Henry :Want to take a quick step back because a lot has happened here and I’m livid for you hearing this story, but I just want to make sure that people understand what’s happening. So you had the deal you thought was done, you got a note from the bank that said, Hey, this is going to go to auction. And then you called the wholesaler and agent that you worked with and they said, Hey, no big deal. We’ll just switch it to a contract for deed. And for those who are listening, contract for deed is what’s associated with a seller finance deal. When you buy a deal on seller financing, that means the owner becomes the bank and you put in place a document called a contract for deed. And what that basically says is you have the financial responsibility for the property, but the deed is still technically in the owner’s name until it is completely paid off. Henry :And so I can see why they said, okay, if we do a contract for deed, you would still be the owner. But since it’s contract for deed, the original owner technically still owns that until it’s completely paid off. And so it’s almost like they did a sub two with you and then some owner finance component on top of that to save the due on sale clause. And then you’re saying you paid $20,000 of a down payment and that down payment was supposed to be to catch the original seller up on payments. So I assume they were behind on their mortgage. Your 20 grand down payment was supposed to catch that seller up so that the note was no longer behind so that they wouldn’t go into foreclosure. Is that correct? Is that what I’m hearing? Tanner :Yes. Besides I wish my down payment was 20 grand. It was 110,000. Oh my goodness. But 20 grand of it was supposed to catch up the rears. Okay. Dave:Okay. So Tanner, with this deal, how much was it? What was the purchase price and what was your down payment? And also if you do know what the wholesaler got as an assignment fee. Tanner :Yeah, so I purchased this for $450,000. I put $110,000 on the down payment, big red flag there, and the wholesaler made 10 grand. The listing agent who double-sided it with the wholesaler made 27 grand. Wow. A lot more than I made. Dave:And Tanner, one of the unique things here that I’m wondering about is in a sub two deal, all of the communication with the bank must be going to the original borrower. So you’re not actually talking to the bank, you’re not getting notices. The only way you’re hearing about this is literally when the bank is taping notices to your tenant store. Is that right? Tanner :A hundred percent. Wow. And I’m glad you brought that up, Dave, because that brings me to my next point. The wholesaler and the listing agent are chirping this in my ear. You cannot talk to the bank because then it’s going to trigger it, even though obviously it was already triggered. You can’t talk to the bank because they can’t be aware of what’s happening. And so that’s the hard part with sub two, right, is you have to play this like you’re behind doors, you have a lot of money at stake, but you got to kind of act like you’re not involved and it’s this weird gray area. So when I got that second notice that said, here’s the date it’s going to the auction, now all hands are on deck. I have my attorneys involved. My attorneys are now saying, you 100% need to talk to the bank. At this point they did not save it. It’s going to the auction. We need to figure this out. Dave:Alright, we have to take one more short break, but when we come back we’ll hear the latest doozy of a twist and a story with many twists and how this deal ended and how Tanner has adapted this business since then. Stay with us. Henry :Welcome back investors. Let’s get back into the conversation. Tanner :So now I talked to the attorney that’s supposed to sell this property to the bank. And what I find out, which is mind boggling to me in which when I knew I was truly screwed is they said, it’s not just because you changed title or you took over this loan. It’s not just because there’s arrears that need to be caught up. You legally cannot own this property because it is a low income entity that only owner occupants who are deemed low income can live here. Dave:Oh no. Tanner :And they can knock on the door once a year to verify that the owner lives there. Dave:Wow. Tanner :Now it’s obvious I’m not going to be able to keep these terms. There’s no way I can own this above board with the bank to where they’re not going to send it to the auction. So yeah, that was hard to hear that. And now I feel terrible. I’m taking low income housing. I have no right to own it completely. Didn’t know this. Dave:Oh well, I’m sorry. Wow, that’s crazy. I’m just curious, I have so many questions, but I’ll just start with at any point did you just think about paying off the loan? Because I guess that’s what I had been thinking prior to hearing. This is like maybe you take out a secondary mortgage. I don’t know how much cash you have on hand, but maybe you just pay off the mortgage and then get a secondary loan. Obviously that hurts your cashflow if you’re refinancing at a much higher rate. But now with this news, did that just take that option totally off the table because you literally, no matter what the financing is, cannot own this property. Tanner :Dave, you’re good at your job because that’s the next part of this. Dave:You’re the first person to ever say that. Tanner :So that’s exactly the next steps. I tell myself, I need to pay this off. I need to pay this off with hard money and then I’m going to sell immediately after because it’s no longer going to cashflow. I’m going to sell it and just, I’ll probably still lose money, but I won’t lose this much money. And so that was my plan. Now after going through two attorneys, I was told that I could not buy this property at auction because what’s going to happen is only a low income person could buy this property at auction. And the chances of a low income individual buying this at auction is very low. So what’s going to happen is that they’re not going to sell it and it’s going to revert back to the entity that owned it in the first Henry :Place. Oh my goodness. Did you tell them that you spent $110,000 and put $70,000 into the basement work and so now you are a low income individual? Tanner :Yeah, they wouldn’t listen to me. Henry. I tried everything. I tried showing up at their door. I tried to go. They said they wouldn’t take a meeting from me, which I get, right? They don’t care about investors. They’re trying to provide housing for low income. And I was sensitive to that, but I wanted to figure out if there was a win-win situation. There obviously wasn’t. It goes to the auction. I don’t show up because I had two attorneys advise me that I wouldn’t be able to and an investor buys it at the auction. What? Dave:Wait, how? I just want to clarify something because Tanner said earlier that it’s unlikely that a low income person buys the property at auction. That is because in almost all cases auctions, you have to buy cash. And so low income people generally don’t have cash to just go buy properties. That I would imagine if you had that much money, you wouldn’t qualify for the subsidy. But so how on earth did this get sold to another investor? Tanner :I still do not know the answer to that. And that’s what frustrates me. And that’s why I feel like these gray areas in the investment world, I want to stay far away from because if an attorney can’t give me a straight up answer, then I have no business being involved in that strategy. Henry :I think that was the most important sentence that was said in this whole podcast. Someone has to be able to clearly understand and explain to you what you are doing, what you are involved in, how it’s supposed to work, what are the risks and consequences of everything that you are doing on a transaction. If no one can tell you that, then you’re really putting yourself in a very uncomfortable situation because now you’re basically on your own. Tanner :So now for the cherry on top, there’s Dave:More. Tanner :There is Dave:More. I feel like we’ve already heard several cherries to this Sunday Tanner :In the Chronicles of unfortunate events of Tanner, the cherry on top, it sells for much more than the servicer needed at auction and there is excess funds of 40 grand. So now I have hopes that I’m going to get 40 grand and lose only 140 grand. But now let’s rewind back to, we converted this to a contract for deed. I am no longer on title and now the original seller gets the excess funds of 40 grand. Dave:So they got paid twice essentially. Oh my God. I’m honestly speechless. This is a crazy story. I’m sorry to hear all this Tanner. And this is a really series of unfortunate events and thank you for sharing this, but I have several more questions here. First, is there any recourse for you? To me, it just seems like the wholesaler, or at least the listing agent, which is a bit more regulated, did you follow up on whether any rules or laws were broken in them brokering the deal to you? Tanner :I have tried with attorneys, but because of contracts that I’ve signed, I am at a loss. It would take a ton. I might be able to recoup something, but my mind is so done with this transaction after so much mental space dedicated to it. I know I can’t recoup even half of that. And my attorneys have told me it would be an uphill battle to get anything. And after attorney’s fees, I’m cutting my losses at 180 grand and I’m in a much better spot now and my business has changed because of it. So I’m just going to take that and run. Henry :This story is unfortunate, right? And I’m sure going through it for you, my stomach was kind of like on a roller coaster hearing it. So I know you having to go back and forth and the uncertainty that’s the killer is all the uncertainty and not knowing how this is going to end up, which I do not want to downplay at all. I think I would just be upside down if I were in the shoes. You were in this deal. But you had said the seller ended up with the $40,000 and my first thought Tanner actually was like, I’m okay with that. And I know you lost a lot of money and I get it, but there’s more than one victim in this scenario. And the original seller is probably the original victim. This was his home, his or her home that they had purchased and built the original amount of wealth with and then got into a difficult situation. And then these investors and investor agents came in and really took advantage of a situation. So we also don’t want to forget that there is a person tied to the other end of this transaction that we are looking to build wealth off of. And can you imagine what they were feeling and going through as well while you were going through this too? So there’s even more to this story when you really unpack it at its core. Tanner :A hundred percent. And Henry, that’s an important note, right? I as an investor have resources to know better. This is an expensive learning lesson to me, but this guy’s credit is going to be shot because of this whole transaction he got foreclosed on. It is a terrible situation on all fronts. So I am taking it as a learning lesson. My business has completely shifted into only seller finance where I’m working directly with a seller. And the learning lessons that I’ve learned from this and the crazy, crazy, crazy studying that I’ve done because of this have yielded me to become an expert in my eyes of seller financing. 2023 was my best year income wise after having the biggest loss of my career. I think there’s a reason behind that because it created a monster in me. Dave:Well, Tanner, I really appreciate your attitude about this. You took a big lump, but you’re taking accountability and it does sound like you were misled in a lot of ways, but I do appreciate how you’ve come and bounced back from it already. So congratulations to you on that and for taking a very difficult lesson and using it positively. I’m curious, you’ve shared a lot of lessons with us, but do you think this deal went south because it was sub to because the wholesaler you worked with? Can you point to one thing or was it just sort of a confluence of unfortunate situation Tanner :Pointing to one thing? It has to be myself. I had so many opportunities to not allow this to happen. And if I’m going to learn, if I’m going to grow, it always has to be myself. No matter who’s involved here, the title company, the wholesaler, the listing agent, I can’t focus on that. I have to focus on a hundred percent responsibility. There was several angles that I could have prevented this from happening and I didn’t. So that’s aspects that I’m taking into my business now and moving forward. Henry :I love the accountability. The only way you can truly get better because if you put the blame on somebody else, then you have no reason to improve but said differently. What is the main thing that you would have done differently now looking back, where would that turning point have been? What would’ve been the thing now, if you had another deal come to you like this, what’s the thing that somebody who’s maybe listening who hasn’t done this yet or is interested in creative financing or sub two financing, what’s the red flags they should be aware of? Tanner :That’s a great question. In reality, I really do believe that it was a hundred percent on me. But I’ll say too, I don’t think this would’ve happened to me in Seattle. And the reason I say that is because my network was at such a stronger position in Seattle where I could go to people that I knew I could trust for some feedback on this. Now in a place where I was a little bit more vulnerable in Utah where I didn’t know anyone, I guess my advice to newer investors is to really spend time nurturing a network of people that you can trust because those people are priceless when it comes time to get some advice from. Henry :And so just real quick before we close, you said you pivoted now to strictly seller finance, and so now that means you’re just going directly to the sellers and you are negotiating rates and terms that you and the seller are both comfortable with. And is that all you’re doing now and you’re scared in having this contract for deed and your old deal didn’t scare you away from even trying the seller financing? Tanner :Yeah, I am a firm believer of the seller financing. I believe that having the flexibility when you’re working directly with a seller opens up so many different avenues, especially when you don’t have the stress of the bank. So no, that didn’t scare me. I am gung-ho about seller financing and I feel it’s above board to the point where I can scale. And so I’m a lot more comfortable there. I am an investor and an agent. I’ve been an investor for much longer than I have an agent. But now as an agent, I understand I have a lot more responsibilities. And so I’m trying to keep my business completely above board and that’s part of the reasoning as well. Dave:All right. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Tanner. We really appreciate your candor, your entire attitude about this. It takes a lot of guts to tell this type of story publicly, but I just want to thank you on behalf of the whole audience. It’s an important lesson for it sounds like you’ve really learned, and for everyone here to learn as well. Tanner :I appreciate you having me. Watch the Episode Here ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Help Us Out! Help us reach new listeners on iTunes by leaving us a rating and review! It takes just 30 seconds and instructions can be found here. Thanks! We really appreciate it! In This Episode We Cover: Subject to real estate explained and why so many investors are flocking to this strategy The “due on sale” clause which can easily lose you an entire property if called Why you MUST understand the zoning and rules for your rental property BEFORE you buy it The “gray area” of creative financing that is putting new and veteran investors at risk Why having a solid network in your investing area can stop you from getting burned  And So Much More! Links from the Show Connect with Tanner: Interested in learning more about today’s sponsors or becoming a BiggerPockets partner yourself? Email [email protected]. Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

This story was originally published at BiggerPockets.com

“Subject to” real estate has been exploding in popularity. When mortgage rates began to rise, subject to (often called sub to) came in as the hero to save the day. This real estate investing strategy offered investors the chance to take over low-interest-rate loans from homeowners who wanted to sell their properties. And, with often a minimal down payment required, new and experienced investors lined up to give this fast-scaling strategy a try. Without even knowing it, Tanner Litchfield did the same.

After being brought a home run, three-percent mortgage rate deal, Tanner knew he had to act quickly to secure what would be a massive passive income play. He put down a six-figure down payment to secure it, with another seventy thousand dollars in renovation costs. Things were rolling smoothly until…they weren’t. Tanner lost every penny he put into this property and the property itself while another investor walked away with it in hand. How did this happen, and how do YOU avoid a six-figure creative financing mistake?

In today’s episode, Tanner walks through every difficult detail of this deal gone wrong. He shares the red flags he should have seen in the beginning and the one thing that could have saved him from this deadly deal. If you’re interested in seller financing, subject to, or any other type of creative financing, you MUST listen to this episode, or you could be hit with a six-figure loss, too.

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Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Dave:
Subject two, otherwise known as sub two has been a hot new strategy in the real estate community recently. You can sometimes put no money down. It’s a great way to scale your portfolio and in a lot of ways it sounds like a win. But what happens when sub two deals go wrong and loans get called? What if you had $180,000 on the line today? We’re going to talk to someone who had just that happened to him. Hey everyone, I’m your host, Dave Meyer, and with me today is Henry Washington. Henry, thanks for joining us.

Henry :
What’s going on Dave? Thank you for having me. So today we’re talking with an investor named Tanner Litchfield, who is a seasoned investor who got burned by a sub two deal. Today we’re going to go through his story and discuss what the risks of sub two deals are. What happens if a loan gets called due and how to prevent losing money or the deal in total with this potentially risky strategy. Yeah,

Dave:
I’m looking forward to this conversation because I think it’s important with any strategy, whether it’s sub two, flipping short-term, rentals, whatever, to present both the risks and the rewards, the upside, the downside, the potential pitfalls of every real estate strategy. So that’s what we’re trying to do here today with this conversation with Tanner. Let’s bring him on. Tanner, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us today.

Tanner :
Of course, I’m happy to be here. We

Dave:
Want to hear about your story and experience with doing a sub two deal, but let’s first just learn a little bit about you and your investing history. How long have you been an investor?

Tanner :
I’ve been investing for about six years now, since 2018.

Dave:
Nice. What made you get into it?

Tanner :
It’s funny because it’s the cliche I was going to be a dentist. I thought I was going to just make this money and be free the rest of my life. And then I decided do I actually want to dig in people’s teeth for the rest of my life? No, I do not want to do that. So then I was trying to get creative on a way that I could make money and provide for my family for the long term and real estate is what popped up. So I made that shift in college. I jumped into sales but doing real estate on the side. So it was like that for a while now. Yeah, I don’t know if I’m answering your question exactly.

Dave:
No, it’s great. It’s the classic dentist to real estate investor pipeline. We hear about that all the time.

Tanner :
Really? Is

Dave:
That real?

Henry :
No, but usually they end up becoming a dentist and then they end up passively investing, like being somebody’s lender, they really don’t get into it like you did. So that’s pretty cool.

Tanner :
Yeah, there’s too much college ahead of me. I was like, I can’t do that.

Henry :
So when you started, what were the strategies that you were using to do your deals?

Tanner :
Yeah, that’s a great question. The reason I’m here is because James Dard, so he’s a local superstar in the Seattle area. That’s where I was born and raised. So I really got intertwined into the Seattle real estate market and Thatch Na Win was one of big personal mentors that helped me along the journey. So really his methodology of the Burr value add real estate is what I got started in. So the more traditional back when you could refinance, have a three point something interest rate and it was fine. And so that’s how I started the beginning of my portfolio. And then as the market started shifting in 2022 rates started jumping up, I shifted to the creative finance world. So that’s where I’m at today.

Henry :
So what was your level of experience by the time you shifted to creative, how many deals had you done? It had been what, three, four years? Paint that picture for me.

Tanner :
I had a rental portfolio of probably 10 units and then a few flips in between. So maybe 15 to 20 deals up until the time I converted to creative finance. So like

Henry :
A decent level of experience.

Dave:
So you knew what you were doing As much as any of us knows what we’re doing. I dunno,

Henry :
That’s the secret. Nobody really knows what they’re doing.

Dave:
Don’t tell them that Henry. No, just kidding. But obviously you had some experience so you weren’t just jumping into creative right away. But what of all the different creative financing strategies or ways that you could go with your investing career, why did you ultimately settle on sub two?

Tanner :
And that’s a great question and I’m glad that you brought it up because I don’t think in my mind I was going after a sub two deal. I think in this creative finance seller finance world, people group it all into seller finance, creative finance, they’re all treated equally. And that’s one of the big lessons I want to portray is that they, they’re completely different. And so I wouldn’t say that I was after a sub two deal, I was after a low interest rate that would yield cashflow. And so when I found that deal just so happened to be sub two that was uncovered later, I had no idea about all the risks. Here we are today. And

Dave:
Just so everyone knows when we talk about creative finance, there are a lot of different sub strategies or tactics within creative finance and seller finance is one of them. Sub two is a different one. Both of them, as Tanner just alluded to, do offer opportunities, at least in today’s environment to get lower interest rate than current market rates. If you were to just go out and get a new mortgage, because a lot of these strategies focus around either assuming an existing mortgage or in the seller finance case you’re working with someone who owns a property outright and they’re essentially working as the bank. And so they’re much more, they’re not really restricted in what kind of terms that you can use and there’s just a lot of flexibility.

Tanner :
A hundred percent.

Dave:
So Tanner, tell us how did this deal come

Tanner :
Along? So I’ll start at the basics of it. I had moved to Utah. I’m fresh to Utah. Keep in mind, I had moved from Seattle, I’m new in Utah, working on my network, don’t know a lot of ton of people. I had just sold a live-in Flip in Kirkland, Washington. That was the biggest deal of my life. I was sitting on a ton of capital, I was eager to put it to work. And I went to lunch with who I viewed as a player in the Utah market. I didn’t know a ton, he just seemed like he knew his stuff. So I went to lunch with this guy and he proposed that he had this deal that was a 3% interest rate, 2014 build in an area of Salt Lake City. I ran the numbers, they looked good. This guy didn’t portray himself as a wholesaler.

Tanner :
And so as someone that wholesales here and there myself, I’m not talking crap on wholesalers per se, but there are some levels of protection I throw up if someone is a wholesaler. This guy was doing a lot bigger deals apparently. And so that layer of due diligence was kind of out the window for myself. Long story short, I bought the deal from this guy. There was another investor on it and I had to submit my earnest money to snag it. The numbers penciled. I viewed this guy as someone who I could trust. I asked about all the risks being new to the creative world and I was sold on it.

Dave:
So any of us, Tanner was looking to grow his portfolio and he’d gotten connected with a deal that looked great on paper. So what happened next? Where did things go wrong? We’ll get into that right after the break.

Henry :
Welcome back to the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast. We are here with investor Tanner Litchfield talking about a subject two deal. He learned a lot from, let’s jump back in.

Dave:
Alright, well I do want to hear more about the deal, but I think it’s important that we dig into this person that you found this deal with. How did you meet this person? And if you didn’t think he was a wholesaler, what were you expecting the relationship to be?

Tanner :
I viewed this guy as almost like his expertise. He could have been a mentor to me. He was doing multimillion dollar deals in other states, way bigger deals than I was ever involved in. And so he had this level of trust because I was doing much smaller things than him.

Henry :
Were you introduced to him through somebody else or is this somebody you just kind of reached out to because you saw what they were doing?

Tanner :
Yeah, this was from a Facebook group. So keep in mind I didn’t know really anyone here in Utah. I’m using Facebook groups to try and leverage and network and grow my network from there. And so he was responding, he was contributing. We got lunch. I found out a lot more about him and that’s kind of where it led from there.

Henry :
And I don’t want people to think it’s wrong. It’s not a bad idea to meet connections in Facebook groups. I don’t think that’s where you’re saying things didn’t go the way you planned. It’s just sometimes we see these people doing these things that we think are amazing and incredible and we somehow associate trust with that. And so then when you get involved with them, you’ve given them this unearned trust which takes your walls down in terms of due diligence. Is that what I’m hearing kind of happened with this relationship? A

Tanner :
Hundred percent.

Dave:
Yeah. I think that’s a good point, Henry, the networking we talk about all the time is super important. But as Tanner is telling us, obviously it’s very important to vet and perhaps even get references for these people. But let’s learn a little bit more about how this deal unfolded, Tanner. So you said it was a 3% interest rate, you weren’t necessarily looking for sub two. How was the financing piece of this deal presented to you?

Tanner :
It was presented as seller finance. To me it was sixes. I didn’t know the difference between seller finance sub two, I had the 3% interest rate. And to be honest, this was very premature. The listeners and you guys are probably like, why would you jump into a deal not understanding the difference, the risks associated? That was one of the biggest mistakes on my part.

Henry :
You know what you say that man, but there’s probably a lot of people listening who absolutely would jump at the chance at a 3% interest rate deal even if they didn’t fully understand the difference between the two. Because I mean 3% interest rate is pretty attractive in today’s market. That’s how people are capturing this elusive cash flow, right? Or how they think they’re doing it. So you took the bait that a lot of people would take. Don’t feel too bad about that.

Tanner :
The bank account hurts enough. Yeah, it’s a good lesson to

Henry :
Learn. So how did the deal unfold? Were you then connected directly to the seller? Was there intermediary this whole time? How much direct impact did you have on setting up the rates and terms and getting the deal closed?

Tanner :
Yeah, I had zero involvement in that negotiation part. The wholesaler at play was working with a listing agent who they were formulating the offer and I had no say in contracts, no say in negotiation, here are the terms I’m going to take ’em over. And in the wholesale world and the off market world, which a lot of people don’t realize where the best deals are, quotation marks, the earnest money is non-refundable. So as soon as you submit your earnest money, you’re locked in or else you’re losing that.

Dave:
Did anyone ever tell you you’re essentially getting a loan from the seller? Because that would be traditional seller finance that the seller is acting as a bank. At what point did you realize that you were doing a sub two and were taking over the payments for the existing loan?

Tanner :
So I think in the contract work when I was signing things, I recognized that part, but I didn’t know what that meant. So I recognized that I was taking over payments for someone. I didn’t recognize the risks associated.

Dave:
I see. And so when did you bought the deal assumably that the closing all went fine? At what point did things start to turn?

Tanner :
So I bought the property, I put $110,000, I rehabbed it, which in this case the rehab was just finishing the basement. I put 70,000 into refinishing the basement. I put renters in there. Keep in mind now the cashflow is great. It’s coming in. I am happy. Things are rolling. And then this is the big kicker. I get a text from my tenant who’s lived there for a month and a half with a letter posted on the front door that this property is going to auction.

Dave:
Whoa. Okay. And so how long is this term? The close. So how long did the rehab take before you put that tenant in? For six weeks.

Tanner :
This is like three or four months after I’ve closed on this property. Okay.

Dave:
And so you’re just sitting there, why on earth would this be going to auction?

Tanner :
Yes, exactly. So I’m freaking out at this point. I’m talking to the wholesaler, I’m talking to the listing agent, and their words to me are, this is completely normal, this is fine. We’ve handled this before, we’ve been able to revert it back. You’re totally good. So then next steps are they convert it to a contract for deed. Contract for deed means. Now my title, my deed, my certificate of ownership is now being transferred back to the original owner and that is supposed to save a due on sale clause.

Dave:
Okay. So Tanner, let just interrupt for a second. So is the reason they were saying it was going to auction is because they had called the loan due or what was the justification in the first place?

Tanner :
Yes, they were calling the note due.

Dave:
And did they give you a reason?

Tanner :
I didn’t uncover the true reasons until a few steps later.

Dave:
Let’s keep going chronologically. So yeah, sorry, I just wanted to understand. So they were calling the loan due and just for our listeners, this is one of the things that comes up as a potential risk factor in sub two is that when you assign a mortgage over to someone else that the bank in, not in all cases, but in many cases does have the option to just say like, no, we don’t want to do that, so we’re going to essentially end the loan and ask that you repay us.

Henry :
Yeah, I was going to say the same thing. I was like the due on sale clause is always there for banks in this situation. Because if you think about how a loan works, the bank vets the buyer to determine if they are comfortable lending to the buyer on this piece of property. And since technically the buyer has changed hands, there’s a clause in these mortgages called the do on sale clause, which allows them to go ahead and say, Hey, you know what, we’re just going to go ahead and call the entire note due because we don’t want that.

Tanner :
So yeah, I get that note posted on the door, it’s going to auction, I am freaking out. I’m talking to the wholesaler, I’m talking to the listing agent. It’s completely fine. We do this all the time. We convert to a contract for deed. Notary comes to my house, I give the ownership back to the seller. So now the bank can’t call a due on sale supposedly because the original seller still has title anyways through the grapevine, I was told the reason the due on sale clause was called because of arrears of 20 grand that the wire never reached the bank. Now keep in mind, through the title company, I saw that I paid 20,000 in arrears as part of my down payment. So now I’m freaking out what happened with my money? Did this actually get paid? Anyways, they claim that they’re just figuring out the wire. All was good. Now, a month later after I thought this was resolved, I get another text from my tenant with a new letter that has a specific date of the auction. So now I am livid. I’m no longer trusting the wholesaler. I’m no longer trusting the listing agent. Now it’s in my power. Should have done this a lot earlier obviously. So I get an attorney. I just

Henry :
Want to take a quick step back because a lot has happened here and I’m livid for you hearing this story, but I just want to make sure that people understand what’s happening. So you had the deal you thought was done, you got a note from the bank that said, Hey, this is going to go to auction. And then you called the wholesaler and agent that you worked with and they said, Hey, no big deal. We’ll just switch it to a contract for deed. And for those who are listening, contract for deed is what’s associated with a seller finance deal. When you buy a deal on seller financing, that means the owner becomes the bank and you put in place a document called a contract for deed. And what that basically says is you have the financial responsibility for the property, but the deed is still technically in the owner’s name until it is completely paid off.

Henry :
And so I can see why they said, okay, if we do a contract for deed, you would still be the owner. But since it’s contract for deed, the original owner technically still owns that until it’s completely paid off. And so it’s almost like they did a sub two with you and then some owner finance component on top of that to save the due on sale clause. And then you’re saying you paid $20,000 of a down payment and that down payment was supposed to be to catch the original seller up on payments. So I assume they were behind on their mortgage. Your 20 grand down payment was supposed to catch that seller up so that the note was no longer behind so that they wouldn’t go into foreclosure. Is that correct? Is that what I’m hearing?

Tanner :
Yes. Besides I wish my down payment was 20 grand. It was 110,000. Oh my goodness. But 20 grand of it was supposed to catch up the rears. Okay.

Dave:
Okay. So Tanner, with this deal, how much was it? What was the purchase price and what was your down payment? And also if you do know what the wholesaler got as an assignment fee.

Tanner :
Yeah, so I purchased this for $450,000. I put $110,000 on the down payment, big red flag there, and the wholesaler made 10 grand. The listing agent who double-sided it with the wholesaler made 27 grand. Wow. A lot more than I made.

Dave:
And Tanner, one of the unique things here that I’m wondering about is in a sub two deal, all of the communication with the bank must be going to the original borrower. So you’re not actually talking to the bank, you’re not getting notices. The only way you’re hearing about this is literally when the bank is taping notices to your tenant store. Is that right?

Tanner :
A hundred percent. Wow. And I’m glad you brought that up, Dave, because that brings me to my next point. The wholesaler and the listing agent are chirping this in my ear. You cannot talk to the bank because then it’s going to trigger it, even though obviously it was already triggered. You can’t talk to the bank because they can’t be aware of what’s happening. And so that’s the hard part with sub two, right, is you have to play this like you’re behind doors, you have a lot of money at stake, but you got to kind of act like you’re not involved and it’s this weird gray area. So when I got that second notice that said, here’s the date it’s going to the auction, now all hands are on deck. I have my attorneys involved. My attorneys are now saying, you 100% need to talk to the bank. At this point they did not save it. It’s going to the auction. We need to figure this out.

Dave:
Alright, we have to take one more short break, but when we come back we’ll hear the latest doozy of a twist and a story with many twists and how this deal ended and how Tanner has adapted this business since then. Stay with us.

Henry :
Welcome back investors. Let’s get back into the conversation.

Tanner :
So now I talked to the attorney that’s supposed to sell this property to the bank. And what I find out, which is mind boggling to me in which when I knew I was truly screwed is they said, it’s not just because you changed title or you took over this loan. It’s not just because there’s arrears that need to be caught up. You legally cannot own this property because it is a low income entity that only owner occupants who are deemed low income can live here.

Dave:
Oh no.

Tanner :
And they can knock on the door once a year to verify that the owner lives there.

Dave:
Wow.

Tanner :
Now it’s obvious I’m not going to be able to keep these terms. There’s no way I can own this above board with the bank to where they’re not going to send it to the auction. So yeah, that was hard to hear that. And now I feel terrible. I’m taking low income housing. I have no right to own it completely. Didn’t know this.

Dave:
Oh well, I’m sorry. Wow, that’s crazy. I’m just curious, I have so many questions, but I’ll just start with at any point did you just think about paying off the loan? Because I guess that’s what I had been thinking prior to hearing. This is like maybe you take out a secondary mortgage. I don’t know how much cash you have on hand, but maybe you just pay off the mortgage and then get a secondary loan. Obviously that hurts your cashflow if you’re refinancing at a much higher rate. But now with this news, did that just take that option totally off the table because you literally, no matter what the financing is, cannot own this property.

Tanner :
Dave, you’re good at your job because that’s the next part of this.

Dave:
You’re the first person to ever say that.

Tanner :
So that’s exactly the next steps. I tell myself, I need to pay this off. I need to pay this off with hard money and then I’m going to sell immediately after because it’s no longer going to cashflow. I’m going to sell it and just, I’ll probably still lose money, but I won’t lose this much money. And so that was my plan. Now after going through two attorneys, I was told that I could not buy this property at auction because what’s going to happen is only a low income person could buy this property at auction. And the chances of a low income individual buying this at auction is very low. So what’s going to happen is that they’re not going to sell it and it’s going to revert back to the entity that owned it in the first

Henry :
Place. Oh my goodness. Did you tell them that you spent $110,000 and put $70,000 into the basement work and so now you are a low income individual?

Tanner :
Yeah, they wouldn’t listen to me. Henry. I tried everything. I tried showing up at their door. I tried to go. They said they wouldn’t take a meeting from me, which I get, right? They don’t care about investors. They’re trying to provide housing for low income. And I was sensitive to that, but I wanted to figure out if there was a win-win situation. There obviously wasn’t. It goes to the auction. I don’t show up because I had two attorneys advise me that I wouldn’t be able to and an investor buys it at the auction. What?

Dave:
Wait, how? I just want to clarify something because Tanner said earlier that it’s unlikely that a low income person buys the property at auction. That is because in almost all cases auctions, you have to buy cash. And so low income people generally don’t have cash to just go buy properties. That I would imagine if you had that much money, you wouldn’t qualify for the subsidy. But so how on earth did this get sold to another investor?

Tanner :
I still do not know the answer to that. And that’s what frustrates me. And that’s why I feel like these gray areas in the investment world, I want to stay far away from because if an attorney can’t give me a straight up answer, then I have no business being involved in that strategy.

Henry :
I think that was the most important sentence that was said in this whole podcast. Someone has to be able to clearly understand and explain to you what you are doing, what you are involved in, how it’s supposed to work, what are the risks and consequences of everything that you are doing on a transaction. If no one can tell you that, then you’re really putting yourself in a very uncomfortable situation because now you’re basically on your own.

Tanner :
So now for the cherry on top, there’s

Dave:
More.

Tanner :
There is

Dave:
More. I feel like we’ve already heard several cherries to this Sunday

Tanner :
In the Chronicles of unfortunate events of Tanner, the cherry on top, it sells for much more than the servicer needed at auction and there is excess funds of 40 grand. So now I have hopes that I’m going to get 40 grand and lose only 140 grand. But now let’s rewind back to, we converted this to a contract for deed. I am no longer on title and now the original seller gets the excess funds of 40 grand.

Dave:
So they got paid twice essentially. Oh my God. I’m honestly speechless. This is a crazy story. I’m sorry to hear all this Tanner. And this is a really series of unfortunate events and thank you for sharing this, but I have several more questions here. First, is there any recourse for you? To me, it just seems like the wholesaler, or at least the listing agent, which is a bit more regulated, did you follow up on whether any rules or laws were broken in them brokering the deal to you?

Tanner :
I have tried with attorneys, but because of contracts that I’ve signed, I am at a loss. It would take a ton. I might be able to recoup something, but my mind is so done with this transaction after so much mental space dedicated to it. I know I can’t recoup even half of that. And my attorneys have told me it would be an uphill battle to get anything. And after attorney’s fees, I’m cutting my losses at 180 grand and I’m in a much better spot now and my business has changed because of it. So I’m just going to take that and run.

Henry :
This story is unfortunate, right? And I’m sure going through it for you, my stomach was kind of like on a roller coaster hearing it. So I know you having to go back and forth and the uncertainty that’s the killer is all the uncertainty and not knowing how this is going to end up, which I do not want to downplay at all. I think I would just be upside down if I were in the shoes. You were in this deal. But you had said the seller ended up with the $40,000 and my first thought Tanner actually was like, I’m okay with that. And I know you lost a lot of money and I get it, but there’s more than one victim in this scenario. And the original seller is probably the original victim. This was his home, his or her home that they had purchased and built the original amount of wealth with and then got into a difficult situation. And then these investors and investor agents came in and really took advantage of a situation. So we also don’t want to forget that there is a person tied to the other end of this transaction that we are looking to build wealth off of. And can you imagine what they were feeling and going through as well while you were going through this too? So there’s even more to this story when you really unpack it at its core.

Tanner :
A hundred percent. And Henry, that’s an important note, right? I as an investor have resources to know better. This is an expensive learning lesson to me, but this guy’s credit is going to be shot because of this whole transaction he got foreclosed on. It is a terrible situation on all fronts. So I am taking it as a learning lesson. My business has completely shifted into only seller finance where I’m working directly with a seller. And the learning lessons that I’ve learned from this and the crazy, crazy, crazy studying that I’ve done because of this have yielded me to become an expert in my eyes of seller financing. 2023 was my best year income wise after having the biggest loss of my career. I think there’s a reason behind that because it created a monster in me.

Dave:
Well, Tanner, I really appreciate your attitude about this. You took a big lump, but you’re taking accountability and it does sound like you were misled in a lot of ways, but I do appreciate how you’ve come and bounced back from it already. So congratulations to you on that and for taking a very difficult lesson and using it positively. I’m curious, you’ve shared a lot of lessons with us, but do you think this deal went south because it was sub to because the wholesaler you worked with? Can you point to one thing or was it just sort of a confluence of unfortunate situation

Tanner :
Pointing to one thing? It has to be myself. I had so many opportunities to not allow this to happen. And if I’m going to learn, if I’m going to grow, it always has to be myself. No matter who’s involved here, the title company, the wholesaler, the listing agent, I can’t focus on that. I have to focus on a hundred percent responsibility. There was several angles that I could have prevented this from happening and I didn’t. So that’s aspects that I’m taking into my business now and moving forward.

Henry :
I love the accountability. The only way you can truly get better because if you put the blame on somebody else, then you have no reason to improve but said differently. What is the main thing that you would have done differently now looking back, where would that turning point have been? What would’ve been the thing now, if you had another deal come to you like this, what’s the thing that somebody who’s maybe listening who hasn’t done this yet or is interested in creative financing or sub two financing, what’s the red flags they should be aware of?

Tanner :
That’s a great question. In reality, I really do believe that it was a hundred percent on me. But I’ll say too, I don’t think this would’ve happened to me in Seattle. And the reason I say that is because my network was at such a stronger position in Seattle where I could go to people that I knew I could trust for some feedback on this. Now in a place where I was a little bit more vulnerable in Utah where I didn’t know anyone, I guess my advice to newer investors is to really spend time nurturing a network of people that you can trust because those people are priceless when it comes time to get some advice from.

Henry :
And so just real quick before we close, you said you pivoted now to strictly seller finance, and so now that means you’re just going directly to the sellers and you are negotiating rates and terms that you and the seller are both comfortable with. And is that all you’re doing now and you’re scared in having this contract for deed and your old deal didn’t scare you away from even trying the seller financing?

Tanner :
Yeah, I am a firm believer of the seller financing. I believe that having the flexibility when you’re working directly with a seller opens up so many different avenues, especially when you don’t have the stress of the bank. So no, that didn’t scare me. I am gung-ho about seller financing and I feel it’s above board to the point where I can scale. And so I’m a lot more comfortable there. I am an investor and an agent. I’ve been an investor for much longer than I have an agent. But now as an agent, I understand I have a lot more responsibilities. And so I’m trying to keep my business completely above board and that’s part of the reasoning as well.

Dave:
All right. Well, thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Tanner. We really appreciate your candor, your entire attitude about this. It takes a lot of guts to tell this type of story publicly, but I just want to thank you on behalf of the whole audience. It’s an important lesson for it sounds like you’ve really learned, and for everyone here to learn as well.

Tanner :
I appreciate you having me.

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In This Episode We Cover:

  • Subject to real estate explained and why so many investors are flocking to this strategy
  • The “due on sale” clause which can easily lose you an entire property if called
  • Why you MUST understand the zoning and rules for your rental property BEFORE you buy it
  • The “gray area” of creative financing that is putting new and veteran investors at risk
  • Why having a solid network in your investing area can stop you from getting burned 
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.

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