Getting a loan doesn’t have to be a difficult process, according to Ron Blum, founder of Atlas Capital and Asset Management. In fact, building a portfolio doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Atlas offers quality properties in blue-collar neighborhoods; internal underwriting of fixed-rate, 30-year loans; and property management service—all under one roof. Blum says the company’s goal is to be your investing partner for the next 30 years.
The idea is nearly five years in the making. When Atlas began offering properties to individual investors, Blum noticed foreign nationals had a difficult time getting what most Americans would consider a decent loan. Often, their interest rates on a 30-year fixed loan nearly equaled hard money rates, and sometimes, they’d have to make a substantial cash down payment. Not surprisingly, many would just pay cash outright for the property—if they could afford it—to avoid the bad loan terms.
Blum realized it didn’t have to be this way. Using his industry connections, he set up an internal underwriting program offering 30-year fixed rate loans (with reasonable rates) to both foreign and American investors. To qualify, you only need $100,000 in annual income (jointly), $100,000 in cash reserves and good credit.
“It’s the least invasive loan program I know of,” he says, adding you probably would have to jump through more hoops to get a used car loan.
The application process is simple. Along with completing a short online form, you’ll be asked to list your cash reserve accounts (IRAs, money market accounts, etc.), provide two years of tax returns and submit your credit report. Atlas can usually preapprove you and give you access to its available inventory for review within 24 hours.
Investors typically close on their first property an average of 30 days later. Blum emphasizes that Atlas is very careful about the turnkey properties it offers to individual investors. All are in stable, blue-collar neighborhoods with good school districts, low crime rates and far more owners than renters. Most are in Kansas City, Tulsa or Des Moines, since these cities have steady growth and high employment rates.
“We avoid high risks like the plague,” he explains.
The properties come with thoroughly screened tenants in place. Since most Atlas properties are in family neighborhoods, the tenants are usually young families who want to keep their children in the local schools. Atlas does not accept Section 8 (subsidized) or short-term tenants.
Once you’ve selected and purchased your property, you don’t need to worry about the day-to-day business of owning a rental property, such as collecting rent or maintenance issues, since Atlas also offers quality property management services
“We do everything in-house,” he says. “There are companies that provide properties and property management services, but they’ll refer you out to a mortgage company for the loan. We’re the only company I know of that does it all.”
Up until now, mostly foreign investors have taken advantage of Atlas’ loan program and investment services because the company hasn’t really marketed its services to American citizens. But, Blum says Americans can definitely apply for the company’s 30-year fixed rate loan, something he contends can be a very attractive option for anyone who doesn’t want to go through the hassle of applying for a loan through a major financial institution.
Regardless of whether you are a foreign or domestic investor, Atlas wants to establish a long-term relationship with you. Blum sees the relationship as a 30-year commitment: Atlas lends you the money for 30 years but then also works hard during those 30 years to provide you with the best possible property management services while helping you to continue to build your portfolio. There are few other places you can get that type of commitment.