The Cooling U.s. Real Estate Market Gives Savvy Investors An Edge

Despite the 5 percent drop in new home sales and the slowing pace of home re-sales, which were down 2.8 percent in January, savvy private investors continue to reap hefty real estate profits. In fact, companies that utilize private lenders, like Premier Real Estate Solutions, LLC (, aren’t even breaking a sweat. Indeed, company founder Neb Essayas says that the market slowdown in major cities represents “the most exciting time for our business.”

Premier Real Estate Solutions buys properties in northern Virginia, central Maryland, and the District of Columbia at 25 to 50 percent below market value. The company then renovates the homes and re-sells them at market value. “There’s talk about the real estate bubble bursting,” says Essayas, “but what’s happening is that sellers aren’t making windfall profits anymore. The housing market has been so hot over the past five years that so-called investors could afford to pay market value, watch the property appreciate, and sell at a profit.”

In contrast, Premier Real Estate Solutions makes its profit going into the deal – through buying the right properties at the right prices. “As a rule of thumb, we do all of our numbers right and build in our profit margin before purchasing the property,” says Essayas. “We only buy two types of properties: those where we can quickly create equity through renovations and those where we buy equity from motivated sellers who need a quick sale.”

Now that the real estate market isn’t so forgiving, Essayas says that buying the right properties at the right prices is key. “The numbers have to be right, not only to ensure that our company makes a profit, but to secure our private investors’ loans.”

Those numbers are providing hot returns on investments, regardless of the price range of the home. For example, Premier Real Estate Solutions purchased a home for $405,000, spent $1,000 in upgrades, and sold the home for $599,000. Similarly, Essayas put $32,000 of renovations into a home purchased for $229,000 and sold it for $390,000. “Recently, within a three and a half week period, we bought a home for $77,000, spent $12,000 fixing it up, and found a buyer willing to pay $170,000,” he says.

Using private investments to purchase and renovate homes gives Premier Real Estate an advantage over developers using institutional lenders, in that the company can move nimbly when it finds a bargain. “The private capital we’ve been using has allowed us to close on these properties in as little as three days,” says Essayas.

As for investors, they appreciate being able to earn a better return through Premier Real Estate than they can with traditional investments. According to Harry Roupas, who has made significant investments in Premier Real Estate Solutions properties over the past three years, “The excellent returns I have seen on my investments demonstrates to me that Premier’s business model is sound. Buying properties below market value, renovating them, and selling them at a profit is the right approach for today’s real estate market, but you need a Premier Real Estate to make it all work just right.”

And Premier Real Estate is hard at work, planning to purchase between 50 and 60 properties in the Washington, D.C. Metro area this year, and looking to a future in larger development projects, such as condominiums and hotels.

While Essayas anticipates that the market’s cooling trend will result in a longer turnaround time for sales, he emphasizes that “we factor higher carrying costs into our equation before making an offer to purchase a property.”

He concludes, “Because we never pay market value for a property to begin with, we can continue to take advantage of the current real estate market to secure properties at prices well below market level, renovate them, and sell them at a profit.”