Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Latest Real Estate Ripoff--The "Flip Tax"

From CNN Money.

"Many condo and townhouse dwellers are already familiar with the "flip tax," more formally known as a resale fee. Typically calculated as a percentage of the sale price, it's a fee due to the condo association or community when an owner sells. These charges fund common-area maintenance or provide a boost to reserve funds, which benefits the association's homeowners.

But in some new developments, homebuilders are including in contracts a 1% fee to be paid to them every time the house is sold -- for 99 years. And the money doesn't go for improvements or upkeep: It's just money in the builders' pockets."


"Freehold Capital Partners, the New York-based financial company that is developing the program, claims it has already signed up thousands of developers nationwide, representing hundreds of billions of dollars of development.

The company's plan is to monetize that future income -- essentially allowing developers to get paid now rather than later. To do that, Freehold would bundle together the estimated income from the future fees and sell that package to investors. It claims this new "asset" would be worth about 5% of the original home prices."


"One company that is working with Freehold is Thieman Enterprises, a developer based in Ohio. "I think it's a fantastic program," said owner Ted Thieman. "I can get my development going again."

He said he needs the upfront cash to fund the building of infrastructure -- roads, sewers and other essentials. Working with Freehold to sell the fee package on to investors would potentially give him enough cash to get projects going and land construction loans more easily."

If there was ever a good reason to avoid condos, co-ops, townhouses, new construction, or homes in HOAs, this is it. Developers act like this is a royalty fee or something!


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