RealtyShares Update: My First Loan Default and Foreclosure Recovery (Ongoing)

realtyshareslogoHere’s an update on my debt investment at RealtyShares. The borrower stopped paying for unclear reasons, and as a result this is my first investment to go into foreclosure proceedings. I am still hopeful for a full recovery of my principal and accrued interested, but it will take a while to come to a resolution. I wanted to share some interim details for those interested.

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Initial investment details.

  • Property: 6-unit, 6,490 sf multifamily in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Interest rate: 9% APR.
  • Amount invested: $2,000.
  • Term: 12 months, with 6-month extension option.
  • Total loan amount is $168,000. Purchase price $220,000 (LTC 76%). Estimated after-repair value $260,000. Broker Opinion of Value $238,000.
  • Loan is secured by the property, in the first position. Personal guarantee from borrower.
  • Stated goal was to rehab, stabilize, and then either sell or refinance.

Subsequent summary of events.

  • January 2016. Funds committed. Loan closed.
  • July 2016 to May 2017. Sporadic payment history for over a year. They would be on-time for a while, then there’d be a late payment, then things would brought back current, etc.
  • May 2017. Borrower stated that the property was under contract for $225,000 with final walk-through completed and expected close within 30 days.
  • June 2017. Borrower stopped paying. I guess the sale fell through (or they lied). Foreclosure process initiated by RealtyShares.
  • September 2017. Judgment granted in Wisconsin court. By law, there will be 3-month redemption period where they borrower can still keep house if they pay foreclosure judgment plus interest, taxes, and costs. Expected scheduled sale date in December 2017.

Payment history. I invested $2,000 and have gotten paid $210.84 of interest before the payments completely stopped. That’s paid interest of 10.5% of principal with a rough estimate of 24 months elapsed from January 2016 to January 2018 (could be longer). My total return will depend on how much money the property will fetch upon sale.

What’s next? It was only a matter of time before I got a default. The question is how often that happens and the size of any losses. When it came to Prosper or LendingClub, the interest rates might be higher but when a loan was 60 days late you were pretty much done. As an unsecured loan, you had nothing to fall back on if the borrower broke their promise (besides hurting their credit score). Sending it to collections might get you pennies on the dollar.

However, this debt is backed by a hard asset, and RealtyShares has already started the foreclosure process. Within three months, either the borrower will have paid it off or the apartment complex will be put up for sale. I tried to research some recent comps in the area using the popular real estate websites like Zillow, but this is a somewhat unique property (6-plex). I don’t see any reason why it would sell for significantly less than the loan amount.

This is complete speculation, but I wonder if the borrower is still collecting rent from all these tenants even after they stopped making loan payments and even now during the foreclosure process. Just pocketing the rent… Is that allowed? Otherwise, the incoming rents should be higher than the mortgage payment, so why not keep paying on the loan? Curious.

Communications quality. I would grade the online updates from RealtyShares as acceptable/good. They are relatively detailed and consistent, providing me a look inside the foreclosure process. Here is a copy/paste of my most recent updates:

October 9, 2017 We have identified a real estate broker to sell the property. The broker spoke with the previous property manager who was at the property a couple of weeks ago and who may be available for property preservation. The broker is going to take a contractor to the property to try and get an accurate cost estimate to complete the renovation.

September 21, 2017 Judgment was granted at the hearing. We expect the filed judgment from the court in approximately one week and will process it upon receipt. We should be able to schedule the sale in late October and it will be held after the redemption period expires—sometime in December. As soon as we receive the filed judgment order from the court we will have the exact 3 month redemption date. Sale cannot be held until the redemption period has expired.

September 8, 2017 The partner has declined to go forward with the purchase of the property. On the foreclosure front, the judgement hearing is scheduled for September 18th. If the judgement is successful, there is a 6-month right of redemption period during which the property can not be sold. During this period we will identify a property preservation firm and a commercial broker to sell the property.

August 25, 2017 A minority partner has stepped forward and has asked for a week to visit the property with the idea of making a paydown in exchange for an extension. We have agreed to speak next week after his inspection.

August 22, 2017 Service has been completed on the foreclosure. The defendants were personally served with the summons and complaint on August 2, 2017. The statutory answering time will expire on August 22, 2017. The judgment hearing will be scheduled at that time.

June 29, 2017 Due to the borrower’s inability to stay current, we have decided to start the foreclosure process for payment default. The foreclosure will run parallel with the sales process, meaning if the sponsor can sell the property and pay us off before the foreclosure is complete we will stop the process, if not we will take over the property. Typically, foreclosures in Wisconsin take up to 12 months.

Bottom line. Well, I used to wonder what would happen in a foreclosure scenario, and now I get to find out. So far, I’m just waiting. There is no secondary market, so I can’t sell my share and invest it elsewhere. I must be patient, and hopefully I will earn an illiquidity premium as a result (i.e. higher returns). I will update again when there is more to report on the recovery process. If you are interested and are an accredited investor, you can sign-up for free and browse investments at RealtyShares before depositing any funds or making any investments.

I’ve also made investments in these other real-estate sites: PeerStreet, which offers $1,000 minimums and automated investing. Patch of Land, a debt investment backed by a single-family residential property in California. Fundrise eREIT, a basket of commercial property investments with an equity focus.

Comments

  1. I haven’t had a default on RealtyShares yet but I had had 2 on Patch of Land. Both PoL defaults are a year past the original end date and remain unresolved. In one case PoL did foreclose but has been unsuccessful in sale of the asset so far. In the other the borrower filed bankruptcy the day before the foreclosure sale as a delaying tactic.

    As far as the collection of rents, I *think* the borrower is allowed to pocket them unless there was a clause in your loan for assignment of rents (this was almost certainly the case). However, I think you have to prove the rents were collected and get a court order to collect. That might all be part of the foreclosure process.

    • Investors haven’t seen anything yet. These investments, when the economy does truly go south, are going to be vaporized. 75% LTV in the middle of Wisconsin? No thanks. Second notes? No thanks. These are but 2 of the tens of ways you can get screwed in these types of deals. Keep them short term, and only in absolute prime markets.

      What happens when people continue to pay the first, and not the second on these loans? You foreclose, but how do you take out the first if you don’t have the funds? Disaster waiting to happen.

      These are real estate investments for the uninformed. Commercial has little to no statutory protections, and how do you know if the property is being bought properly with the right amount of due diligence? A broker opinion of value is a bad way to go because they don’t look at much.

  2. I’m currently investing three 2k debt investment with realtyshares. I hope this doesn’t happened to me.

  3. To your question “I wonder if the borrower is still collecting rent from all these tenants even after they stopped making loan payments and even now during the foreclosure process. Just pocketing the rent… Is that allowed?”

    I thought it was possible to do this. I thought people were doing this during the 2008 financial downfall. Since people were so underwater on their mortgages, they would stop paying their loans and collect rent until they lost their property.

    • Joshua Katt says:

      Of course its possible and prudent too, he’s the legal owner of the property and leases until yanked away in foreclosure. Questionable is what happens in this 6 month redemption period, is the foreclosing agent/service allowed (and is) directing any current rents away from the defaulter? For a fee of course…

      Is it likely the units weren’t fully let or they are behind too in rent payments causing the default?

      Please keep us informed, thanks for sharing, going to give this a try to.

  4. Just curious, does this have any affect on your credit, or just the actual borrower’s?

  5. Michael S says:

    The loan documents should include an Assignment of Rents, entitling the lender to collect rents in this type of situation. As a practical matter, the lender likely has not exercised its rights.

    • Interesting, I will try and have a look. But I agree, it does not look like anyone on the lending/servicing end has pursued this at all.

    • Cooper's Dad says:

      Typically, before the lender can collect rents directly under the assignment of rents, the lender must give notice to the lessors of a default and the lender is invoking his rights under the assignment to receive rents directly from each tenant. Was this notice given in a timely manner?

  6. Sorry to hear this bad news, Jonathan, is this your only investment with RealtyShares? I have a $2K investment also, just started in Sept, so no interest paid yet. Have been researching to get into a 2nd one, but the interest rates on $2K has been dropped to 7%, so still looking.

    What are your other investment with PeerStreet, Patch of Land, Fundrise eREIT? have the investment been positive?

    • Yes, this is my only investment with RealtyShares. It’s my only default so far, everything else has either been paid off as promised, is ongoing, or otherwise exited. I don’t believe any other loan is even late at this point in time.

  7. Thanks for the update and sorry for the bed news. I have been thinking to invest in RealtyShares or PeerStreet, but just didn’t put that into action yet. Please keep us posted on the process.

  8. Appreciate you sharing – we all get to learn, I guess this is the downside to this type of investment. Will this foreclosure show-up on the borrower? Next time they try to get a loan like this, you would know? thanks.

  9. I don’t understand why did these borrower pay 9% APR on a 24 months secured loan. I am pay only 3.5% APR on my home mortgage. and a lot of SMB are paying 6% to 9% on the unsecured LOC.

    Are RealtyShares dealing with people with terrible credit score?

  10. From the looks of it, it wouldn’t have mattered if they paid 2% or 20%, but generally yes, if somebody is paying more than 6% interest in today’s market for a deal, that should get your antennae up.

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