Employer: Irvine Unified School District
Profession: Risk Analysis Adjuster
Employer: Insurance Company
Linda and Vincent Ortego aren’t first-time real estate investors. They recently invested in a single-family home with a degree of success, but were hoping to build even greater wealth by creating a portfolio of rental property investments. So, they decided to call HomeUnion to see if diversifying into fully managed real estate, personalized to their specific financial goals would produce similar results. The Ortegos quickly realized that investing with HomeUnion exceeded their initial expectations, thanks to the firm’s white-glove customer service, paperless transaction services and in-house asset management.
Customer Service Designed for You
After hearing an ad for HomeUnion on the radio, Vincent picked up the phone, called HomeUnion and someone responded “immediately,” Linda shares. “The whole experience was above and beyond what we were expecting. The way it was handled was so smooth. We made an appointment and went to down to the office in Irvine where a Solutions Manager explained the different types of houses available to us. We could go on your website and see all of the geographic locations where homes were available: It was very clear and precise.”
HomeUnion understands the high costs involved with investing in properties remotely: Typically, we recommend an initial investment of $40,000 or more to acquire SFRs (single-family rentals) with solid returns or a balance of appreciation and yield. So, we always welcome remote investors to visit our office and meet the team – who you should be able to trust – before closing such a major transaction.
Paperless Transaction Management
After one visit to the headquarters office to meet with a Solutions Manager, the Ortegos never had to return to close their property sale because the entire process was completed seamlessly online. Unlike the traditional closing process where you have to sit inside an office and sign reams of paperwork, the Ortegos used their mobile devices to finalize all the details of their sale. The couple was on vacation in the Pacific Northwest and Canada for Christmas, but were able to close the deal via their mobile devices. “We weren’t even at a desktop computer and HomeUnion took care of all the paperwork on our telephones.”
The Ortegos ended up purchasing a rental home in Shaker Heights, Ohio, an affluent suburb of Cleveland, which was their second choice as an investment location. Their Solutions Manager recommended the Ohio location because of the neighborhood, price and the Ortego’s budget. “We got a better price for the property and saved a little money on the house,” Linda notes.
Mid- to long-term appreciation in an A-rated neighborhood was of great importance to the Ortgegos, which is why they were redirected to the Shaker Heights property. “The second time around (investing), you know a little bit more. I wanted something a little nicer and safer, with less risk. We wanted to be in an A neighborhood,” she says.
The Ortegos were also impressed by the number of financing options available to them via remote real estate investing. Although they refinanced the Orange County residence where they currently reside to pay all cash for their Ohio investment home, there were “plenty of options available to us.” Investors can use leverage, a self-directed IRA or all cash to buy rental assets. “Our Solutions Manager covered every base, and helped us explore all of the financing options that made the most sense to us,” she shares.
“We didn’t have to go anywhere else. We just did it all online – all the bank stuff,” Linda adds. We were like, ‘That’s it?!’”
Asset Management Made Easy
When Linda asked the HomeUnion Asset Management team if she could start selecting paint colors and make other design changes to their rental, she was surprised to learn that such effort wouldn’t be necessary. Each single-family rental on the firm’s online platform must meet a strict set of criteria before it’s considered livable and rentable to tenants: the HomeUnion Home . The Ortegos didn’t have to handle these property management tasks, she notes.
After tenant stabilization was completed, the Ortegos sat back, relaxed and watched their monthly rental income roll in. One of the advantages HomeUnion offers over the other company the Ortegos are investing with, is the easy-to-read financial statements they receive in their email inbox every month. “The statements are really easy to read. They are very clear, and state, ‘This is now much money you have to set aside for your taxes, this is how much money you will need each month for your property manager, etc.’”
One of the best parts of working with HomeUnion, Linda shares, was the fact that she was able to connect with a “real person, not a machine. It’s all about customer service with HomeUnion.”