One of the great thing about the world of real estate investing is that it represents fantastic opportunities for people who can find more than one way to solve a problem—people like Emil Khodorkovsky, the president of Forbix Capital Corp., a California-based boutique mortgage banker for residential and commercial loans.
Last year, the company achieved a loan volume of $200 million. While financing for multifamily properties is a specialty—including conventional, FHA and Fannie Mae loans—Khodorkovsky and his team also support financing for health care properties, senior living, new construction, retail—even loans for first-time homebuyers.
“We do hard-money loans,” he said. “Clients invest with us, and we loan out their money.”
Forbix, he said, can take clients from their first home to their first investment property and beyond.
“I think the biggest thing that separates us is knowing the business from more than one angle,” he said.
Laying Out All the Angles
Founded in 2012, Forbix has expanded from three people to a team of 30 today. Forbix is headquartered in Sherman Oaks, Calif., and has a national reach, including a satellite office in Mississippi.
Most of Forbix’s deals fall into the $1 million to $20 million range, a space below some of the larger equity players. “I’m trying to be in a position where I’m not competing against other people so much,” Khodorkovsky said.
That also means that Forbix is able to deliver a more consultative approach to those seeking financing. It’s also willing to take on smaller deals.
When talking to customers, Khodorkovsky said, “I talk about each deal as if I’m doing it myself.”
He recalled a recent client who originally wanted a long-term, $2 million fixed loan, but one that would have come with a prepayment penalty that could have limited the client’s options. Forbix was able to suggest a $4 million loan instead, which gave the borrower more flexibility.
In many cases, Khodorkovsky noted, people don’t always realize what kinds of loan products are available. Its FHA nonrecourse and bridge loan products have proven to be very popular, as have its short-term Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bridge loans.
Khodorkovsky described one FHA product offered by the company that essentially is a construction loan, but with the benefit that “it becomes permanent once the construction is done.” The rate is locked in on Day One, and the loan itself is amortized over 40 years.
FHA loans are good products because of their low interest rates and terms that can run for decades, Khodorkovsky said. Even better for investors, the loan can be assumed by the new buyers. In some cases, that’s earned the sellers a higher selling price.
Explaining All the Angles
What does Forbix look for when clients approach them about financing?
“We want to see skin in the game,” Khodorkovsky said.
How much skin varies from deal to deal, he said. But, fundamentally, clients should know the market they’re operating in and the type of asset they’re working with, especially if the property in question requires a major rehab. Properties generally need to be in decent shape and ideally will have been rehabbed in the previous 10 years.
If a project doesn’t look feasible, his team levels with clients as early as possible. “The way we treat our clients is the way we want to be treated,” he said.
In addition to offering home mortgages and financing for investors, Forbix invests directly in properties, notes and hard-money loans. Khodorkovsky is an active investor, with a long track record of buying and selling real estate.
Forbix has an interest in properties in Washington, California, Texas and Florida, larger markets where it’s possible to make greater returns. An apartment unit in California, for example, could command $1,600 in monthly rent, and its operating expenses won’t be that much higher than a unit in a less-expensive city, where the rent wouldn’t be as high.
The company is still looking for other potential markets to invest in. “We’re looking at Georgia closely,” he said. “We are also looking at Oklahoma City closely.”
Before Forbix launched, Khodorkovsky had worked in the mortgage industry as an agent and broker for 13 years. He likes dealing with real estate because it’s a tangible asset, and it also allows a great deal of flexibility. Tired of working with one type of property? There are a wealth of other niches and opportunities.
When he’s not at work, Khodorkovsky enjoys spending time with his wife and their young son. He also happens to be a longtime martial artist.
Khodorkovsky describes himself as a “deal junkie”—someone who lives for putting together a great offering for his clients and investors, showing them options they might have overlooked otherwise.
“We try to give people all the angles,” Khodorkovsky said. James Hart is senior staff writer for Think Realty Magazine. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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