Bankruptcy: Know The Rules So You Can Profit

BankruptcyBankruptcy can be a problematic element of note investing if the investor doesn’t fully understand the process, rules, and regulations of bankruptcy and the implications it may have on their particular investment. Our company recently bought two notes from the same borrower which had filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, which is a re-organization of an entity or company (similar to Chapter 13 which is for an individual). The borrower had over 11 properties that they she was surrendering and had declared she wanted to keep her homestead only. In my mind I thought it was the perfect scenario, the borrower was pending an approval of their Ammended plan, and contact with their bankruptcy attorney indicated they were willing to provide a deed in lieu on the properties. We decided based on the evidence from her case, we would buy the notes and have a quick and easy turn around on both notes.

Shortly after our purchases, both the borrower and attorney went AWOL, I mean NO response after multiple attempts! Although the workout is taking MUCH longer than expected, and the dreaded foreclosure had to be implemented, we are still going to make a nice profit on the two deals, and have learned a lot along the way.

We realized that although we were aware of bankruptcy and believed we understand how it effected us that there was a lot we still had to learn. I wanted to write this post to help you understand what to be aware of before buying a note with a borrower in bankruptcy.


Timeline for Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 ( Typically 4 – 6 months)
Chapter 13 or 11 (Average of 3 – 5 years)

Contact with Borrower
When a borrower is in bankruptcy you are legally prohibited from contacting the borrower directly and must speak with their attorney or trustee until a lift of stay has been filed and approved.

Gaining Title
Even if the property has been surrendered (the owner does not want it anymore) or the debt itself is observed, you still need a Deed In Lieu or Foreclose on the property to gain title.

How that effects you…
In order to initiate contact with the borrower and potentially start the process of the “workout” you will need to file a lift of stay. After a lift of stay has been requested it typically takes 30 – 60 days to be given a court date to have the hearing to receive approval. So this could extended the workout timeline on your note.

Automatic Stay
Automatic stays are put into motion after the borrower enters Bankruptcy. It is intended to prevent creditors from further contacting, harassing, or attempting to collecting debts from the borrower. You must apply for this to be “lifted” and be granted approval within the BK court. It is typically granted to creditors that have collateral that is not properly being protected so they can take the next steps to protect their asset such as foreclosure.

How that effects you…
Although applying for a lift of stay is rather easy, being approved for it in court can be more of a challenge. For instance, the court will not lift the stay when an unsecured debt will be included in the debtor’s discharge (so for Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 plans). If you’re early on in the plan or your borrower files for Chapter 11 or 13 right before the final judgement (this actually happens a lot more than you’d like to know), it could take up to a year or longer before their plan is approved and you start to see some form of payment or workout solution. In the mean time you’re stuck waiting with a note you can’t do anything with! 

Proof of Claim and Transfer of Claim
In Chapters 7 and 13 and 11 bankruptcy cases, all unsecured creditors must file a proof of claim for their claim to be allowed.  Certain secured creditors, however, do not have to file proofs of claim to participate in a bankruptcy case. For example, lien holders and other secured creditors do not have to file a proof of claim to preserve their liens in a bankruptcy case. You have 90 days after the first meeting of the creditors to file this claim. proof-of-claim

Transfer of Claim happens when a creditor has changed, for example if the note is purchased from the current lender on file, you need to file a transfer of claim to prove you are the new creditor.

How it effects you….
I suggest checking with an attorney that is familiar with the bankruptcy process in the state the borrower is located within to find out if you a required to file a claim or not. This is especially important if your borrower is in Chapter 11 or 13 and a payment plan will be made to the creditor on file for the specific property. You want to ensure that your note/property will be properly addressed in their plan.

Bankruptcy Plans
A payment plan is created in both the Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 BK cases. This must be approved formally by the court before set into motion and can take up to two years before it is formally approved. It outlines the exact amount secured creditors will receive in the form of payments and for how long.

How it effects you…
Reviewing the plans before buying a note that has a borrower in BK is extremely important. If a payment schedule has been created within this, it will allow you to see what you are expected to be paid per month, for how long, and at what interest rate. If you are buying this note as a “re-performing loan” then this is the sole determining factor of your ROI and must be looked at carefully. There can be amendments to the original plan, so make sure to look for that as well. It’s also important to know if the plan intends for you property to become a part of their repayment plan, or if it is being surrendered. If it’s surrendered then a foreclosure or DIL is necessary before you are able to do anything with the property.

Now there are other elements to be aware of within Bankruptcy and many rules and regulations that were not discussed in detail here. If you want more information, glossary, or tips with BK, I suggest you take a look at the BK “Cheat Sheet” and Due Diligence checklist we provide to our paid members of  for more help. Let me know any questions you may have about this post or bankruptcy itself below!


Remember, I am not an attorney. This post does not provide legal advice and the Provider is not a law firm.  None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want legal advice.


Calculating a Deal – The Method’s and the Outcomes


Lots of people have different methods for calculating and analyzing their note deals. While there is no “perfect” or one solution, you need to know that you’re coming up with the right numbers for your potential profit as well as your expected costs so you’re not stuck with a unpleasant surprise half way through your workout. Today I’ll be focusing on how we analyze our deals, plan for costs, and ultimately decide to do a deal or not.


While the old pen and paper work here, if you are not utilizing technology, such as excel you are doing yourself an extreme disservice! Excel has AMAZING tools to automatically calculate percentages, basic addition and subtraction, to even calculating complicated algorithms. I suggest watching basic explainer videos on youtube or doing some web research  on how to properly create your automated calculations and save into a spreadsheet. I have one for calculating yields for payments over time (such as a re-performing or performing note), and one that helps me with the DIL or Foreclosure routes (see examples below). All I have to do is plug my numbers in and it tells me my yield! Talk about easy. It’s so much better than working the numbers into your 10bii calculator every time (although I love my 10bii calculator and use it every day for other reasons).

Excel Calculator for Notes

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Calculating Costs

I’ve noticed some investors low ball this area and I think it’s a huge mistake. I almost always round up and prepare for unexpected costs with every deal I do. I also ALWAYS prepare for the outcome of a foreclosure, meaning it’s built into my cost calculations and effects my expected yield before I place my bid. If the deal doesn’t make sense with those numbers, I counter, or move on to another deal. It’s always a potential and should be properly prepared for. Some additional costs I always factor in is servicing for 1 year. It if goes to foreclosure, I can expect (depending on the state) for my property to be tied up with a servicing company for roughly 6 – 12 months (sometimes more)! Even at the standard self-workout, non-collections fee of $25 – $35 that’s an additional $300 in a year. If you’re not prepared to pay that, it could effect your end yield. We also account for things like documentary stamps, property maintenance and security (which can be super costly surprise if you’re not factoring this in up front!), and forced placed insurance.

Deal or No Deal?
Ultimately, that’s up to you and you alone. Using the measures I mentioned above to analyze your deals will seriously help you determine if you move forward or not. I do want to remind you that it’s better to do no deal than a bad deal! You may want a deal bad, but remember you never want to be in a position that you want it bad enough to do a bad deal. Determine a yield % you expect in every deal that way if it’s above your required yield you’re good to go!

I hope you find this post helpful in understanding what better to prepare for in your deals and get you closer to a quick answer on each deal you do!

Owner Financing: Are you making it work for you?


Owner financing has been around for quiet a while as an alternative to traditional lending. The term owner financing (also known as seller financing) means the owner of the property will hold or carrying financing for the buyer, just as a bank or traditional lending institution. A mortgage and promissory note will be created outlining the terms of the mortgage and type of loan including the agreed upon interest rate, length of the loan, etc. etc.

Although owner financing can be a great tool, it can only be done when a property is owned free and clear or there is a low remaining balance on the current mortgage of the property (typically 90% – 99% equity). Utilizing owner financing is especially beneficial when the buyer is unable to get approved by traditional lenders typically because of tight lending regulations. It can also come in handy when the buyer does not have a large downpayment to put toward the home, something traditional lenders typically require.

My company, Seasoned Funding, LLC specializes in acquiring investment properties in which the owner carries financing. Most sellers want 5% – 6% interest, with 20% – 25% down with a 3 to 5 year balloon. Terms that are considered the “norm” for the current market, yet that I feel are best suited for the seller. The short balloon payments and high interest rates can lend to limited or no cash flow,  negative equity, or a failure to pay the balloon when it is due.


Our investments are unique in the fact that our owners will carry financing with 0% interest. Yes, I typed that correctly, 0% interest! We work a little bit different, in that our structuring of the loans create win win solutions for both the buyer and seller. We can buy the property they need to sell typically for what they are asking for it or more, we get the cash flow we desire with terms that make sense for both parties.

Structuring our opportunities to have 0% interest allows us to pay down the principal at a significant rate, creating instant equity and provides us the opportunity to own the property free and clear typically with in 8 to 10 years. In addition, we do not have to pay “all cash” to get the cash flow we desire or the equity we desire. We typically put 10% – 15% down for these investments, leaving us with more capital to invest in other 0% financed deals. 

How do we do that you ask? We’re not going to reveal all of our secrets but it revolves around a series of negotiation techniques that were taught to us in a mentoring program. We are in no way scamming, or conning the seller. They are aware of the terms, but have agreed that our offer provides them a solution that works for them and gets the property sold. investment-property

If you like this investment strategy and want to take your business to a new and creative level I suggest you find out more about the Power of Zero by visiting Real Wealth.

FHA Refinance: A NPN Investor’s Blessing in Disguise

FHA Refinance Letter 2010-23; ever heard of it? You may have heard of the act on the news or from a fellow colleague or friend, but most likely you aren’t aware of the benefits it can have for you as a non-performing note investor.


The FHA Refinance Letter 2010-23 was enhanced as a part of the “Hardest Hit Funds” in March of 2010 to continually assist homeowners who had negative equity in their homes find relief. The new enhancement was passed to better assist the borrower in maintaining ownership of the property through a loan modification. Currently, 18 of 50 states are eligible to receive federal aid as a part of the hardest hit funds. The 18 states were originally allocated 7.6 billion to assist in this process and have since used roughly 11% of those funds. That means from today to 2017 (the end date for HHF) they need to allocate an additional 6 billion dollars. Now, with that being said, each state varies in requirements, but if you have a NPN in one of the states the opportunity could be a perfect way to cash out quick!

The modification requires the lender to give a minimum of 10% loan forgiveness. In addition, it requires the borrower to have a minimum of 3 ledger payments (post modification) and to have not filed bankruptcy within the past 12 months. In addition to the requirements listed above, there are additional requirements that vary from state to state. Although these may not met by all of your borrowers, there are some who qualify.

*If your borrower qualifies, the lender may receive up to 12 months of monthly mortgage payments (including escrowed mortgage-payments), with up-front mortgage reinstatement funds, or funds to pay past due mortgage payments to bring a delinquent first current; these funds are paid directly to the loan servicer/lender. *

What does that mean for you as a non-performing note investor? Think of it as a the hidden gem of exit strategies!

I’ll give you an example:

The note has an unpaid balance (UPB) of $150,000. The current market value for the note is $60,000. You purchase the note in a Hardest Hit Eligible state for 50% of the current market value (CMV), which means you’re buying the note around $30,000. Taking the 10% loan forgiveness “hit” seems a lot sweeter when you only paid 20% of the unpaid balance (UPB) and you still have $30,000 in equity.

So you’ve given the 10% discount, and you’ve been working with the borrower to find a modification that works for them. They’ve paid three months of continuous payments so you ask them to see if they are eligible for the FHA 2010-23 Refinance program. This means they must fill out a lot of paper work, starting with the “letter“. Although it seems like a simple letter, only a few people are legally allowed to have a homeowner fill out and then review it for approval. We use a company like FIC to handle the paperwork, helping us stay compliant and freeing up time to close more deals.

So referring back to my initial example, the original UPB was $150,000. After the 10% loan reduction, the new UPB is $135,000. You paid $30,000 for the note and after 5 months of continual payments get a FHA refinance payoff of $135,000. In addition, you receive the next 12 monthly payments, let’s say of $600 monthly, you would get an ROI of 350%!! Not to mention, the following 12 payments, totaling an additional $7,200. That’s an annualized return on investment of 364%. 

Not only did you help the homeowner stay in their home and make their monthly payment more affordable. You did that while getting a HUGE return on investment within 3-5 months.

I hope this opportunity is something you as NPN investor can take advantage of! The opportunities are they – now go take action!