To be a successful property wholesaler, you need to find a property, get control of it, and move it as quickly as possible. One of the biggest challenges a wholesaler faces is handling a buyer or seller that wants to cancel a deal when they find out what the wholesaler is making. That’s why it’s wise to be familiar with the double-close, where the seller and buyer close separate transactions and never meet.
What is a Double-Close?
Often a wholesaler puts a property under contract, as a buyer, but then assigns the contract to another buyer at a higher price. With a double close, the wholesaler actually purchases and takes legal possession of the property, then has a separate closing to sell the property to their buyer. Though the double-close does add an extra step and expense, it doesn’t necessarily delay the whole process; many closings are still completed almost simultaneously. Also, if you’re tired answering the question, “Is what you do even legal?” The double close removes any whisper of impropriety or illegality.
Benefits of Doing a Double Close
Financial Confidentiality: When assigning the purchase contract for a deal, your original seller and end buyer will eventually know your contract price, the final contract price, and can do the math to figure out what you’re making on the deal. Either one of them can feel jilted and try to force you to renegotiate, taking money out of your pocket. Theoretically, you could sue either or both for nonperformance of their contract, but that may take a while, and a judge may not look favorably on the transaction.
Using a double-close avoids all this.
How To Perform a Double-Close
Since you, as the wholesaler, legally take ownership of the property, there are two closings, hence the name, to complete the deal. The first transaction is between you and the seller, where you are buying the property. In the second closing, you are the seller, so your buyer is purchasing the property from you. The two transactions can even occur in the same office on the same day.
Let’s be realistic, if it was easy, most wholesale transactions would use a double-close over a contract assignment. So, let’s look at why many wholesalers avoid using a double-close.
Purchase Funds: It’s much easier to get a property under a wholesale contract you plan to assign, then coming up with the funds to actually buy the property yourself. Lack of funds is why many investors are initially attracted to wholesaling to begin with.
Solution: Use your network to look for sources willing to do Transaction Funding. Transaction Funding is what it says – it’s a very short-term loan to facilitate a transaction. Most of these types of loans are for less than a week. Because the lender can’t make much profit on interest for only a week, expect fees and high-interest rates. If you do the math though, you’ll find the actual cost is reasonable.
Costs: Two closings result in two sets of closing costs – even if you’re closing on the same day. One for the transaction where you buy the property and one for when you sell it.
Solution: There’s no way to get rid of costs like title insurance and recording fees, but if you establish a relationship with a closing company/agent, they may be willing to waive or reduce some of their specific fees.
Finding Closing Company: Years ago, the double-close got a bad reputation because wholesalers were doing closings where they used the end-buyer’s money, to fund their purchase from the seller. This is pretty much no longer allowed, hence the need for Transaction Funding. Still, many closing companies/agents won’t do a double-close (with Transaction Funding) or require a minimum amount of days between the two closings.
Solution: Use your network to find a closing company/agent that understands the double-close and will work with you.
Many wholesalers were trained to simply assign contracts and view the double-close as illegal, and too complicated, and so not worth the hassle. As we’ve outline though, the double-close may be something to consider. The extra steps and costs may help you close more deals, while also protecting the spread in those deals.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio