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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

WHITE TIGER CONDO CONVERSION

FAQ

 

1.  What is "co-ownership" real estate?

Co-ownership is an individual or group that shares ownership in a multi-family residential or commercial building with another individual or group.  Each co-owner owns a percentage of the building (unit) along with individual rights and obligations which vary according to the ownership agreement.

2.  What is a condo conversion?

A condo conversion is the process of legally subdividing a multi-unit residential or commercial building into individually-owned units. The conversion must be approved by local authorities based on the property meeting a number of ownership and building requirements. 

3.  What is a TIC (Tenants in Common or Tenancy in Common)?

A TIC is a form of co-ownership in which two or more parties form an agreement with usage rights to a multi-unit residential building. TICs are similar to condominiums, but there are important differences: TIC owners own a percentage of an undivided property with exclusive rights to a specific unit, rather than owning an individual unit.

4.  What is a condominium (condo)?

A condo is a property divided into multiple units that are each separately owned, with the owners having a proportionate interest in the common areas.

5.  What are the benefits of condo conversion?

Condo conversion offers people who might not be able to afford a single-family home an opportunity to own their own condo home, unencumbered by other owners. Condo conversion historically provides many financial benefits, including higher property values, increased cash flow, access to lower interest rates and more favorable loan terms, long-term financial security, and a greater sense of community and neighborhood pride that typically comes with individual ownership.

6.  Why should I invest in a condo conversion as opposed to another form of investment?

Real estate offers tremendous opportunities to build wealth. More millionaires make their fortunes in real estate than in any other industry. Condo conversion is not merely a passive investment like buying stocks or waiting for a property to appreciate over time. It is an active choice and a wise investment strategy that enables your money to work for you to multiply the value of your property.

For example, if you invest $100,000 in a stock and the stock increases in value by 5 percent, you will earn $5,000. However, if you invest that same $100,000 to convert a $1.5 million duplex into condominiums, the value of each unit could immediately increase by an estimated 20 percent, or $150,000 — a total profit of $300,000. Your return on investment, or ROI, would therefore be 200 percent as opposed to just 5 percent.

In addition, housing appreciation is more valuable than the same rate of growth in stocks or other investments because housing appreciation is based on the value of the property, not on your investment in it. For example, if you invest $100,000 in a stock and it increases in value by 5 percent, you would earn $5,000. However, if you invested the same $100,000 as a down payment on a $500,000 house and the value of the property appreciates 5 percent, you would earn five times that amount (leverage), or $25,000, plus the increase of profits after condo conversion.

7.  When is a good time to convert my TIC or building into a condo?

One of the unique features of a condo conversion is that it can add substantial value in both a sellers’ market and a buyers’ market, and it can do so in a relatively short period of time. You are not relying on the vagaries of the market; you are making a business decision based on your own financial situation and the intrinsic value of your property. Condo conversions make sense in both an “up market" and a “down market.”

8.  Is a TIC or condo conversion right for me?  Or is it risky?

Every person and every property is unique, and no two projects are alike. WHITE TIGER can help you determine if a condo conversion is appropriate for your particular situation, to reach your specific goals.  All investments carry some degree of risk, but investing wisely in a condo conversion has generally proven to be safe and profitable. Historically, condo conversions in San Francisco and the Bay Area have resulted in an immediate increase in value and liquidity.

9.  If my building has an Ellis Act or eviction on record does that prohibit condo conversion?

Not necessarily. In San Francisco, for example, the Ellis Act would not bar conversion of a two-unit building unless evictions had taken place in both units within the past 10 years. If the Ellis Act had been used to remove a tenant in one unit and the other unit was owner-occupied, for example, conversion in good faith would be permitted. Or if tenants were evicted from both units but the eviction occurred more than 10 years ago, conversion would also be permitted. Every situation is different and must be thoroughly evaluated.

10.  Will tenant buyouts prevent my building from being eligible for condo conversion?

Not necessarily. In San Francisco, for example, the city has a new rule that taints tenant “buyouts” with the same disqualifying status as actual evictions, but it only applies to conversions that take place after the condo lottery resumes in 2024.  A “tenant buyout” occurs when a tenant agrees to leave voluntarily in exchange for money or other consideration from a building owner. Effective March 2015, all tenant buyouts in San Francisco must be reported to the Rent Board, and meet certain other requirements.

11.  What if my property is occupied by tenants or is rent controlled?

California enacted a new rent control law on January 1, 2020 designed to protect tenants from unfair evictions and onerous rent increases. The law is in effect for the next 10 years. However, it does not apply to every property; owner-occupied duplexes, condos, and properties built within the last 15 years are exempt.

The new state law does not override local rent control rules and other local regulations designed to protect renters. Many cities have enacted laws to ensure that tenants in converted buildings are treated fairly. The requirements vary, but they often include: (1) tenants must be given proper notice, (2) tenants must be given the first right to purchase their unit, and (3) tenants must be given financial relocation assistance if they are unable or unwilling to purchase their unit and need to relocate. 

12.  Can I do a condo conversion myself?

A condo conversion is a complex process that takes times and expertise. Converting on your own requires hundreds of hours of time and can often lead to costly mistakes. Every project is different and must comply with local, county and state regulations. Regulations can sometimes differ in different parts of the same city. A professional service like WHITE TIGER can save you hundreds of hours of time and potentially save you money by streamlining the process, anticipating problems and avoiding missteps.

WHITE TIGER’s proprietary FTCC™ program simplifies and accelerates the condo conversion process. We have the resources and experience to guide you through the conversion jungle with maximum efficiency and minimal stress.

13.  How long does a condo conversion project take?

The amount of time needed to complete a project depends on a number of variables, including the availability of professionals and workers, possible legal issues, and the municipal approval process. Careful advance due diligence and planning is crucial for the successful completion of a project.

14.  Do owners have to sell or refinance after condo conversion?

Once a conversion is legally approved, San Francisco property owners have the right to sell or refinance immediately or at any time in the future. They have the flexibility to take advantage of market trends to position their property for optimal profitability and independent home ownership. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development recently implemented new FHA loan rules that make it easier to purchase a condo unit. The new rules allow FHA loan approval for mortgages to buy units in condo projects that are not on the FHA approved list. Condo projects not on the list with fewer than 10 units “may have no more than two FHA-insured units." Projects with 10 or more units "are limited to 10% FHA-approved" units, among other requirements. 

15.  What types of buildings are eligible for condo conversion?

In San Francisco, two-unit residential buildings are currently the only type of building eligible for the "bypass" conversion lottery. When the conversion lottery returns in 2024 or later, it will be expanded to include 2-4 unit residential buildings. In addition, the continuous owner-occupancy requirements for entering the condo lottery will increase. Under the new rules, all but one of the units must be owner-occupied continuously by the same owner for at least three years. Even one “no-fault” eviction will prevent a building from entering the lottery for at least seven years.

Many other cities in the Bay Area and beyond have less stringent regulations governing condo conversions, and buildings can often be converted immediately, regardless of whether the property is owner-occupied or newly purchased. In addition, most existing commercial buildings can be converted into individually-owned commercial condo units.

16.  What is the price for a condo conversion?

The price of a conversion varies depending on the type of property, its location, and the scope of the project. In San Francisco, where projects tend to be more expensive than in other cities in the Bay Area, typical costs — which vary depending on building size and complexity — are as follows: (1) application fees — $11,750; (2) mapping requirements — $8,000 (3) building inspection fees — $2,200-$5,000; (4) plus the price of permits, property improvement and other requirements, depending on the results of the building’s physical inspection. In most cases, the increase in equity and cash flow from a condo conversion will offset the cost of conversion within a few years.

WHITE TIGER charges a flat fee for its ALL-IN-ONE Fast Track Condo Conversion Program™. The fee is based on the size and location of the property, the scope of the work, and the time line of the project. Regardless of the size and scale of your project, our proprietary FTCC program is designed to pay for itself in a relatively short period of time and leave extra money in your pocket. 

17.  What is real estate development? 

The continual reconfiguration of the built environment to meet society's needs for where we live, work and play. The re-creation process and need for development is constant, because population, technology, and individual preferences and tastes are constantly changing.

18.  How do I start?

Start with trust. Call or email WHITE TIGER today to request a NO OBLIGATION complimentary consultation to find out if your property is a candidate for condo conversion. Call: 415-236-2426 or email: whitetiger@whitetiger.us

The time is right. The benefits are compelling. We accelerate the process to save you time and money.

 

Disclaimer: Local rules and regulations governing condo conversions are subject to change at any time. The information presented in this website is based on the latest information available at the time of publication. 


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