Frequently Asked Questions
HOW IT WORKS
With Equity and Help Inc, where is the profit on my investment?
Any house you buy from Equity and Help Inc is priced below market value. This is because we purchase homes from banks and vendors in wholesale lots for very low cost. Then we sell the houses for you to families who can afford our low monthly payment but who cannot get a bank loan. Currently we are selling these houses for an average of 50% of their market value. Then we sell the house for our investors to a family who can afford our reasonable monthly payment, but who cannot get a bank loan. The investor receives their $2000 down payment and their monthly payment every month for 20 years. So investors get paid on a 12% interest loan, sometimes much more. The interest rate investors earn can be increased by purchasing more homes from us.
How can I buy a property from Equity and Help Inc that already has a family in it?
As an investor, you pay cash for the property to Equity and Help Inc and we record the property deed in your name. The US county where the property is located then issues you the deed, which proves you own the property. We then find a good family who can afford it and wants to buy the house from you but doesn’t qualify for a bank loan. We do all the legal steps needed to make this happen using what is called a Contract for Deed. At this point you become the bank – a private real estate lender. You hold the deed and the family makes monthly payments to you until they have paid the house off in 20-30 years.
How do you determine the price you re-sell the house I invest in to the family who will occupy and fix it up?
We price the homes starting at a 20% ROI for our investors and work up or down from there based on the house and market. This is real estate, so offers we get will vary. We present you, the investor, with all offers, but work hard to get you at least 12% ROI. Some houses sell for much more than 20% ROI.
Why would I buy American houses through Equity and Help Inc instead of just buying them directly myself?
You make more money using Equity and Help Inc and you have a lot less trouble and headaches. Most investors who buy houses in the US make 3 - 5% on their investment and it takes over 14 years to get your investment back. The Equity and Help Inc is designed to pay 12%, which repays your investment in about 6 years. For a nominal fee of $35/month per house, Equity and Help Inc manages the property for you, so you have no headaches.
If I am not local but want to invest in E&H houses, would I need to fly to see the houses?
No. You are becoming the bank for families who want to own their own home. Like the bank, you just need to know that the houses are in habitable condition and worth more than you are investing. The family we put into the house will take care of all the repairs, improvements and maintenance. Equity and Help Inc only sells houses below their market value, so you always have equity from the very first day.
When I invest money with Equity and Help Inc, do I get a deed or bank certificate of ownership?
Yes. We register the property in your name and we send you a deed once we get it from the goverment.
How long does it take before I get the deed?
You get the real estate papers that prove you have purchased the property immediately. The US county sends us the deed and we send it to you. The process takes 6 to 8 weeks from the moment you pay for the home in full, just as in any US real estate transaction.
How do I collect my monthly payment?
Your money just appears in your account or mailbox. Equity and Help Inc manages your property for a nominal fee of $35/month per house and will deposit the monthly payment into your account or send you a check – whichever you prefer. The family living in the house does all repairs and maintenance. This is a hands-free investment.
When Equity and Help Inc (E&H) buys the houses from the banks, who is responsible for repairing them?
The family buyer who will live in the home see and inspect the home and are happy with it before buying it. They know and agree in the contract that they are solely responsible for repairing and maintaining the house, just like any family who buys a house from a bank. Neither E&H nor the investor fix up the houses. The investor may need to pay E&H to keep the lawn mowed until it sells to a family.
Who takes care of the insurance and taxes on the houses?
The family who purchases the house. Our Equity and Help Inc team arranges with the family and the tax authority to add any back taxes and current taxes to their monthly payment. Before the property is sold to a family and while it is vacant, the investor is responsible. But once we sell the house to a family for the investor using a land contract, this shifts all responsibility for taxes and insurance to the family purchasing it from the investor, so they pay all taxes and simple homeowners insurance as part of their monthly payment.
Can the investor see the inspection or property report?
Totally. We provide you the data we have available. In the package with the deed we send you everything.
Do investors pay the standard 6% US realtor commission on homes they buy through E&H?
No. There is no realtor commission on E&H homes. The only time the investor would pay a commission is if they want E&H to sell their E&H properties to another investor. They pay E&H a 7.5% commission to cover the costs to have our Area Reps and Field Reps do so. But the investor can sell his assets himself and not pay E&H any fees.
How much are closing costs in buying homes from E&H?
Zero ($0). All required closing costs are included in the home price. This is another very important way in which E&H is different that saves investors money.
When the Family decides to purchase an E&H house do they get any proof that they will own the house after 20 years?
Yes. They get a signed Contract for Deed which says this and is completely legal in the US. Our purpose it to restore the American Dream and help families live in their own home for less that the cost of rent.
Does the ‘’Family’’ pay more for the house because they can own the house after 20 years?
No. The E&H system is carefully designed so that everybody wins. The family who lives in the house pays less than the cost of rent for the house. They cannot move out of the house into a similar place for as little as they are paying to buy their own home. This increases their loyalty to the E&H program and their willingness to keep the house up.
What are all of the Fees?
All the initial fees are included in the price of the home, so you don't need to worry about any additional cost at closing.
On any home that you own, you are responsible for property taxes and insurance until a family is in the home, at which time the family becomes responsible.
The taxes and insurance usually total for less than $100 per month.
Any property in a trust managed by our sister company MyTrusts has a charge of $12 per month.
While a family is in the house you will no longer have to pay tax and insurance. For managing that family, and making sure they pay their bills we charge $35 per month.
When a family signed the contract for deed and moves into your house they will pay a standard $2000 deposit. We charge $50 for setting up the family and doing these contracts, so you will recieve $1950 from that deposit.
How long does it take to get a family into the house?
We do not like to give averages because half will take longer than the average. We suggest our investors plan on it taking one year and then if it happens sooner you will be happy. One year without income still keeps the return on this investment better than most. If a 20 year note has a return on investment of 12%, adding one year to it changes the return to 11.4%. Currently we are locating 15-20 families per month and with the stock we have we expect the houses to be occupied more quickly.
What happens if the family doesn’t pay?
Equity and Help Inc manages everything for you. Our team has 8 years’ experience in handling these problems. If they fall more than 3 months behind in paying, they must leave and we re-market the house and put another family into it. We charge a reasonable re-marketing fee, which the investor pays if it occurs after the first year.
How frequently does a family default on their agreement with E&H investors?
Based on the industry standard for land contracts, 10% of the families in land contracts will default, requiring E&H to find another family for you. Another 15% will be slow pay, resulting in your payments being late part of the time. A typical situation is the family may miss a payment in December and catch up with they get their income tax refund check in April.
However, at E&H we have a very low default rate of about 3%
How much does it cost the investor to find a new family to live in the home if the first one defaults.
If the family has to be replaced in the first year, we feel we did not choose the right family for our investor and there is no fee. We re-market the home and put another family in it for free. If this occurs in the 2nd year, we did a pretty good job, so we charge ½ of the re-marketing fee, or $1,550. The 3rd and following year the fee is $3,100 to put another family into the house for you.
If something goes wrong, are my other assets at risk?
All E&H properties are placed into individual trusts and land trusts to safeguard our investors. This is the form of ownership preferred by wealthy investors and is provided free to E&H investors. Because the investor holds the deed he can take it out of the trust, if he prefers. But E&H recommends that you follow the system designed by very wealthy investors to protect your assets.
INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT QUESTIONS
Can this investment qualify me for a resident US Visa?
Yes, it is possible. You will receive interviews at each appropriate stage with our staff and lawyers. The investment amount required will vary but can be less than might be expected. Acceptance onto this program requires a detailed interview with the person interested in this process.
How much does it cost for E&H to assist me to get a resident US visa?
There is a service fee that at E&H and its lawyers charge (in addition the home prices) of $15,000 per family to help the foreign investor with the legalities and precise steps. E&H doesn’t warrantee that the US Government will approve your visa, because it is issued by the US government, and the investment in not the only requirement. Criminal record or other barriers would prevent the issue of the visa even if the E&H investment part of the process was perfect. We will discuss these points in the initial interview.
Is the square feet listed for the house only, or the land, too.
Just the house. Square feet (abbreviated sqft. or sq. ft.) is how the size of houses in the US are measured. There are 10.8 sq. ft. per 1 sq. meter. The land is usually 5 to 10 times larger than the house and in some cases the land is much larger.
PLEASE NOTE: In the US, unlike other countries, the surface of the lot is not as significant as the surface of the house, but as we are aware that this is important for many other investors, is that we hold the complete information you need, and we will be glad to offer it to whoever enquires about a property they are interested in, indicating clearly the total surface of the house, as well as the lot, both in sq.ft or m2, whatever they prefer.
There is a fee for international wire transfers that the investor needs to pay to their bank or to Equity and Help Inc.
Equity and Help Inc doesn’t charge any transfer fees and our bank (CHASE) does not charge us to receive international funds. You will just need to pay the fees your local bank charges to wire funds.
Where are most of the investors in the E&H program from?
Most of our team investors who have participated in the program thus far are from the US and South America. It is E&H’s honor to be able to also bring this innovative method of investing in US real estate to international investors, beginning in 2015.
Are contracts being used by E&H legal?
Our team has been using our contracts for investors and families for over 8 years and they have been thoroughly reviewed by our teams’ lawyers. They have been used to transact over $50 million in real estate transactions in the US and are fully legal.
If the investor wants to live in the house, is this possible?
Yes. You can purchase a house to live in for 20-80% of its market value.
Do I buy these houses directly from the Internet?
No, you can choose which houses you want to buy from the Internet, but the actual purchase will be done with real people – our staff. The funds will be wired from your bank to ours. In the future we will provide a way an investor can put down a deposit online to hold a house he/she wants.
When was the company established?
The E&H program was established 8 years ago in the USA by experienced real estate investors who saw from the real estate crisis a much better way to invest in residential real estate. We separated from the previous entity and incorporated Equity and Help Inc in October 2014 and we moved into our current headquarters in downtown Clearwater in August of 2016.
How many employees does the company have?
Our team is rapidly growing, but currently consists of about 15 employees in the US and an equal number of Field Representatives across the world. Currently we have Field Reps in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Venezuela, Spain, Germany, Dubai, Taiwan, Canada and the USA.
How many houses and how many investors have done the E&H program?
Our program has been under development for 8 years. During this time 51 investors and over 400 properties have been part of the program. In the last year we've done about 10 investors and over 100 properties.
If an investor buys houses from E&H and then wants to sell one or more of them, can he directly sell the house(s) without going through E&H?
Yes. Once the investor purchases the homes, they belong to him and he can sell them, live in them or do whatever he likes with them. However, once E&H has resold the house for the investor to a family using a Contract for Deed, the investor may only sell the loan and deed to another investor of his choice, not the house itself.
If the investor wants to sell his position in a property to another investor, will E&H do it?
Yes, E&H will re-sell the house for an investor for a 7.5% fee to pay our Area Reps and Field Reps to sell it. The investor may sell his position himself with no fees to E&H.