Cell Tower Lease: Sell, Joint Venture or Refinance?

Cell Tower Lease: Cash It In or?

There are several ways of turning your cell tower or rooftop lease into cash without giving up title. Just like any other real estate you can opt to sell your lease, joint venture your lease or just recently, the option to refinance your lease is now possible.

This gives you, the lessor, more alternatives than you’ve ever had to get the cash you need, when you need it no matter why you need it. Let’s explore these and see if one of these are for you.

Sell Your Cell Tower Lease

For the past twenty years or so, selling a cell tower lease was the sole method of converting that cash flow into a lump sum. Private and Wall Street buyers paid cash for the leases giving investors an income stream that was above average. There were risks that some leases would become worthless due to mergers and acquisitions of carriers, but these were discounted and the reward proved to be worth the risk.

As this set of telecom based assets has evolved the risks have achieved a downward bias and buyers are prone to paying more for the basically same assets. There are also more players that are willing to further bid up the purchase prices that are actually assignments of these leases ranging from 30 to 99 years. For these time periods the buyers get the benefit of receiving the income that is produced. They also take the risk of a partial or complete loss if a carrier or set of carriers choose to abandon or terminate a tower or rooftop.

Joint Venture Your Tower Lease

What? Yeah, sell a part ownership in your lease or sell part of the time you have remaining on your lease. Just about anything is possible, as long as it makes sense to someone who is willing to pay for the reward they could receive. Remember, you own a cash flow and that can be sold if it is discounted enough to make it possible for another to make a profit.

What I like best about the JV (joint venture) possibility is, you get to get your cake and eat it to. Sell half and keep receiving half the income. Here’s the sweet part; you have a builtin professional manager that is going to handle this lease until, forever if planned right.

When it comes a time for a renegotiation of the lease, your ‘manager’ is going to do the best they can because they have an interest (same as yours). Any other carriers your ‘manager’ can attract, the more income you will get.

AND you have a builtin buyer should you ever decide to let go of the balance of your lease.

Refinance Your Cell Tower Lease

This is new and huge. Until recently, a bank would not loan you a nickel on your cell tower lease for one good reason; it had a termination clause. This meant that the cell carrier, your lessee, could, for any reason, with as little as 30 days notice walk away from the lease.

We have discovered a source that has learned the risk/reward calculations (probably former cell tower buyers) and are willing to lend money to construct new towers, loan money to purchase a tower lease or even a group leases. They will lend up to $25M for the right project.

How to Avoid Mortgage Loan Fraud – Keep Your House, Don’t Go to Jail!

The Federal Mortgage Fraud Task Force is looking for crooked mortgage brokers, dishonest real estate brokers and cheating home buyers and real estate investors. While most people play it on the straight and narrow, good deeds can be mistaken for bad. Stay out of the mortgage fraud spot light using a few simple techniques!

In the current home buying climate the deals are hot, the financing is hot and the buyers are in trouble. The buyers?

Yep. If they can get the loan they can take advantage of some fantastic deals. The question is, can they get the loan? Some buyers want the financing so badly they are willing to fudge numbers or cut corners to get there. Sometimes it does not even take that. In general, you have committed mortgage fraud if:

  • You took cash out of the bank and paid off debt without telling the lender;
  • You bought a car prior to closing on your loan and you didn’t tell the lender;
  • You are getting any credit for anything at closing and did not tell the lender;
  • You make any agreement the lender does not know about at closing, usually called a ‘side agreement’;
  • An adjustment you make at closing is not reflected on the HUD-1 settlement statement;
  • Part of your down payment or closing costs comes from work you will be doing on the property;
  • For bond loans, if you get a substantial RAISE!
  • Any part of the down payment is borrowed;
  • You have had any significant job change, quit your job or started a new job without telling the lender;
  • You don’t move into the property when you certify to the lender you will be an owner occupant;

The Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is very specific about how a closing should proceed,

especially one that is subject to financing.

Mortgage fraud is easy to fall into and hard to get out of. Even judges have fallen into the trap. For example, in Tampa Florida, Judge Thomas E. Stringer plead guilty on August 6th 2009 to bank fraud. He was helping a young dancer “protect” her assets. In the process, he bought a house for her in Hawaii. Things went sour with the dancer of questionable repute and the deal was reported. Judge Stringer had not been completely candid in his loan application. He failed to disclose he had borrowed all or part of the down payment. That is a big “no, no!”

The Judge Stringer case stands for the proposition you don’t have to go into foreclosure to commit fraud. He was current with his loan payments. That was not the problem. His only mistake was not telling his lender he had borrowed the down payment. No losses were reported by the lender!

In the simplest of terms, any statement made to the lender which is not 100% accurate may be considered fraudulent. Any change in the borrower’s financial health, for example buying a car or incurring extra medical bills without advising the lender, may be fraudulent. Any decrease, and in some cases, any increase, in income without advising the lender may be fraudulent. For example, some loans are geared towards low income buyers. If the borrower makes too much money he won’t quality. What do you do if before closing you get big raise? You better disclose the fact.!

The HUD-1 settlement statement lists all of the charges and all of the credits in your sale. If money changes hands and it is not listed on the settlement statement then fraud has been likely committed. For example, what happens if the buyer discovers the picture window in the front room was broken out the night before closing. It is going to cost $600 to fix it. The seller agrees to pay. If he writes the buyer a check at closing to ‘keep things simple’ then fraud will likely be committed. The picture window repair must be on the settlement sheet, as must every cent spent.

Another easy fraud trap to fall into are representations made by the buyer in other loan documents. Do you plan to occupy the property? If you answer “yes” then you better have a pretty good excuse why you didn’t if you are not fat and sassy in the house a year later.

But what happens if you get a last minute job transfer or change in life circumstances? Must you live in the house just to solve the potential fraud accusation? Of course not! The question is what were your intentions when you signed the loan docs. If you said you were going to move into the property but you got a job transfer 2 days after closing then you have met the intent part of the law. You planned to live in the house when you bought it. As fate has it, a job transfer to another town 2 days later precludes living in the house. No fraud.

Proving your intent is not always as easy as it sounds. Let’s say you bought a house, closed on it, and then the house of your dreams comes on the market two blocks away. The price is too good to pass up. Can you ive in the new house or do you have to live in the old one?

This is a tougher argument to make to an investigator since it is difficult to prove your intentions. Should you buy the second house and risk it? Assuming you have documented your path why not buy the second house. However, if you do that 13 times over a few year period, as happened in Colorado recently, you are probably in hot water. As a general rule, if you are not living in the house after the first year, even though you certified you were going to live in the house, be sure you have your documentation ready! You could easily get called on the carpet as occupancy is checked for many loans.

Unfortunately, everyone in the chain of a real estate deal, from the loan originator to the closing agent and the brokers and lawyers in-between, are potential fraudulent actors. For example, if the figures at closing are significantly different from the fees you are being charged at time of settlement then you may be the victim of loan fraud. Be vigilant for fix and flips where sellers are making a huge profit on the house. In these cases, you will want to double check the com parables and maybe even hire another appraisal company to check true market value. One has to wonder how a house worth $400,000 a month ago is now worth the $550,000 you agreed to pay for it. There may be appraisal games going on with the property.

The easiest way to get caught by the Task Force http://www.mortgagefraudtaskforce.com/ is through foreclosure. Properties that go on the auction block are frequently examined to see if the underlying loan was legit. However, as in Judge Stinger’s case, you don’t have to belly flop to get free room and board in crime school. Let’s hope those who end up in prison for their illegal activities don’t come out with a new fraud scheme!

Caravan Terminology – Guide For Buyers

A Frame – This is the triangular frame that is at the front end of the caravan. It is usually covered by a piece of moulded plastic. It also houses the handbrake and the electrical leads.

ABS – Most caravans are now built using ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) as it is light, shiny and repairable.

Aquaroll – A roll-along container for fresh water which connects to your caravan water inlet using a submersible pump.

Awning – Similar to a three-sided tent which attaches to your caravan through the awning rail, located on the side of the caravan. Awnings range from either a full awning, which runs the whole length of the caravan, to a porch awning which fits over the caravan door.

Awning Rail – The rail on which the awning threads into which runs along the sides and top of the caravan.

Berths – The number of people the caravan will sleep.

Breakaway Cable – A steel cable which is permanently fixed to the lower end of the handbrake lever with a clip on the other end which attaches to your towbar. This cable would apply the caravan brakes if, for instance, the caravan became unattached from the car.

Butane Gas – The gas sold in blue cylinders. It burns at a slightly slower rate so it is a more efficient heat provider, which usually makes it the preferred choice of Caravanners. It cannot be used in freezing temperatures and is heavier than propane. If you switch from propane to butane you will need to switch regulators.

CaSSOA – Caravan Storage Site Owners Association – using a CaSSOA recognised site will often get you discounts on your caravan insurance policy.

Corner Steadies – The legs which wind down from the corners of the caravan which ensure the stability of the caravan when pitched.

Coupling Head – Also referred to as the “hitch” – the part of the caravan which couples to the towball on your car and locks on.

CRIS – Stands for “Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme” and is the national register for touring caravans in the UK.

Delamination – When the adhesive bonding the caravan floor layers become unstuck, allowing the floor layers to start to creak and become spongy.

Full Service Pitch – A pitch which has water and electricity supply, as well as a connection to the waste system. You may also have a direct TV aerial connection. Can also be known as a multi-service pitch.

Garage – Part of the caravan, usually bunks which fold up when not in use, that opens from the outside so that you can put in large items for storage, e.g. bikes.

Gross Train Weight – The combined maximum allowable weight of the loaded caravan and car, which the law states should not be exceeded.

GRP – Glass Reinforced Plastic used for the construction of the caravan panels (not used on newer caravans).

Hitch Head Stabiliser – Works by applying friction to the tow ball, therefore stabilising the caravan.

Hitch Lock – The hitch lock is a metal lock which fits over the caravan coupling head, therefore preventing the caravan from being stolen. This is essential to most insurance policies.

Hook-Up Lead – The lead which connects the caravan to the site mains electrical supply.

Jockey Wheel – The small wheel at the front of the caravan ‘A’ frame which you can use for maneuvering the caravan and which supports the front end.

Maximum Towing Weight – The maximum weight that the manufacturer will allow the car to tow under any circumstances and which must NEVER be exceeded.

MIRO – Stands for “Mass in Running Order” – This is the weight of the caravan when equipped to the manufacturer’s standard specification (before being loaded with all your equipment).

MTPLM – “Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass” – This is the manufacturer’s top limit for what a caravan can weigh when it is fully loaded with all your caravanning gear.

Motor Mover – An electric device which is fixed to the caravan which allows the caravan to be moved when not hitched up. It uses a remote control to move the caravan and works using the caravan battery.

Noseweight – The maximum amount of downward force which the car manufacturer will allow to be exerted on the towball.

Outfit – The car and caravan are known together as an “outfit”.

Roof Light – A window in the roof which can be opened.

Single Axle – A caravan with just one set of wheels, usually a smaller caravan.

Stabiliser – A stabiliser helps to keep the caravan stable when being towed. It uses friction to damp down movement around the tow ball and will help to correct any excess movement. Do not rely on a stabiliser alone to keep the caravan stable – you must still load the caravan correctly and keep the caravan tyres in good condition.

Steady Locks – These lock the caravan steadies (legs) in the down position, which makes it difficult to tow the caravan away.

Supermule – A safety device which is wound down from the caravan’s floor when you are parked which will prevent the caravan being towed away, as the more the caravan is pulled the more the Supermule digs in to the ground.

Twin Axle – A caravan that has two sets of wheels.

User Payload – The total weight of the accessories you can carry in the caravan.

Wastemaster (or Waste Carrier) – A container with wheels which holds your waste water until you need to empty it at a service point on site. It connects to your caravan’s waste water outlet, and will slide under your caravan.

Wheel clamps – They fit around the caravan tyres and wheels to prevent the wheel rotating, which therefore prevents the caravan being stolen.

The History of the Aircraft Wash Guys, Part Three

As we study this grass roots history of a franchise company in the making we see how opportunity in the market grows companies and how entrepreneurial thinkers take advantage of those opportunities to deliver goods and services, which match the desires of the market place. In this review of the history of the aircraft wash guys we see the company diversifying and finding other niches to serve, some of which were actually better than the original plan. This is very common and typical of entrepreneurial from the ground up companies, yet all to often government regulators and rules fail to see how real companies come to be. This study shows similarities to many of the humble beginnings. If you look at Walt Disney who started in a shed behind the studio or Apple’s jobs in the garage or even Bill Gates and his car counting machine you can see how things grow and build and entrepreneurs find and exploit niches. Now back to our story of the History of the Aircraft Wash Guys Part III:

Mr. Winslow decided after all the research that it was time to go for it; time to launch the franchise company on his own without any venture capital. He planned to build the business the way we had always done it, out of gross receipts. He kept building the business washing cars and aircraft and renamed it The Car Wash Guys. He built up car wash guys to 35 units serving 43 cities using independent contractors. In 1996 he decided to become an actual franchise company, forming Car Wash Guys International, Inc. He could now better control consistency, color schemes and service quality, driving on the comments of Ray Kroc in his book “Grinding it Out”.

Coming from aviation into automotive services he tended to run our business strictly by the book. In aviation things are more critical than in the automotive sector, but he believed that being overly concerned with the little details would actually be a good thing and advantage over the competition when dealing with cars. During the “.Com” craze he changed the name to WashGuy.com and added web sites for the different brand names. Of course Aircraft Wash Guys has always been the favorite of Mr. Winslow since this is where he started out some 27 years ago. After the successes and hardships of the learning all the other different market segments for Team Wash Guys, it was wonderful to offer Aircraft Wash Guys as a completely separate Franchise Module to those people involved in aviation who would like to own their own business.

Wash Guys wash cars, trucks, boats, concrete and many other things and as you are probably aware, aircraft washing requires different training, soaps, equipment and wastewater recovery for environmental reasons. The FAA will with hold monies for aircraft improvements if airports are not following strict environmental laws. It is for this reason Mr. Winslow has been so proactive in helping the team with environmental compliance and giving his expertise to government agencies who are developing BMPs for the Aviation Industry.

In 1997 Lance Winslow met and hired Arthur Dickey the originator of Tidy Plane to work in product development. Trying to better a product called Dry Wash, using kerosene as the active ingredient. Tidy car tried to market Tidy Plane, but that didn’t work to well without Arthur’s devotion. Arthur helped the company design labels and with the help of his chemist design better products which were safe for the aviation cleaning industry working actually out of Lance’s garage. Arthur was one of the original Tidy Car Franchisees, his dad once owned a small airline in Los Angeles, which flew jets and later had one of the top performing Mail Boxes Etc. franchises. Tidy Car made Arthur stop his Tidy Plan Concept, through a franchise agreement clause feeling it did not work with their brand name. A decade Later Tidy Car sold that brand name to Ziebart. Arthur’s brother operated the Tidy Car Franchise after that and did lots of aircraft washing for jet customers in Florida. Arthur was hired away from the founder’s of the Paxton Super Charger, and the Paxton Racing Team after he had developed their super wax brand to sell in Wal-Mart and Pep Boys, after Arthur left the brand never did reach it’s full potential. Arthur with all this knowledge made it easy for us to comply with all the MSDS requirements. Arthur after developing the companies product line moved on to explore other opportunities and continued his passion with the Dry Washing Concept and with a friend convinced Fed Ex to use it exclusively in many markets and he set up with some associates a network of operators using his new blend.

In 2000 Mr. Winslow gave a notice to all Car Wash Guys stating it was forbidden for them to wash planes due to potential negative PR in newspapers if they polluted, plus the insurance requirements and equipment was not right in case of damage and the UFOC for Car Wash Guys did not cover these issues and those independent contractor contracts were10 years old. This was a major dilemma. So the team got together to make a set of training videos, upgrade equipment so that the team could keep the aviation customers and comply with the laws. Several of the franchisees with Car Wash Guys complied and kept washing Aircraft. It was determined that the market in aviation was not being satisfied so we have expanded into a full-blown franchise system. It was noticed that FBOs, Flying Schools and especially the fractional jet market was really taking off. This allowed the Car Wash Guys to sign Aircraft Wash Guys agreements or in some cases where they bought specialized equipment made verbal agreements for them to continue.

Then as we started get going the FTC hurt many of our franchisees by attacking Car Wash Guys and then the other terrorists of 9-11 just about put the death blow in General Aviation, but aviation people are tough as they come and today the market sector is rebounding. Lance often wondered who was worse the government terrorist regulator lawyers or the actual Osama Bin Laden and company?

Mr. Winslow has always been passionate about flying and aviation. His Father was a decorated naval Aviator flying in the Puerto Rico Squadron F-8s during Cuban Missile Crisis, 250 combat missions in an A-4, later CO of a Naval Squadron (A-7 Corsair II), later Captain in the Navy, later and Airline Pilot (737, 727, DC-10, 747, 777, 757), then after retirement, currently fly’s a Gulfstream Corporate Aircraft. Mr. Winslow’s dad wishes he could be flying F-18s in the Sand Box right now. Mr. Winslow’s Grandfather was head of FAA in Fresno International Airport and flew in a B-24, while his step grandfather flew a B-17 Flying Fortress) and his other grandfather built the first laser ring gyro now used as a guidance system throughout the aviation, marine and space industries. It is in my blood. Lance Winslow’s brother is a Pilot in Command for a C-130 in the US Marines stationed out of Miramar.

Today the Aircraft Wash Guys team has washed for Millionaire Aviation, Executive Jet, etc. And companies like Raytheon, Cessna and others. They have washed jets in Little Rock Arkansas, Scottsdale AZ Airpark, Colorado Springs CO, Bozeman MT, Columbus OH, Van Nuys CA, Palm Springs CA and many other airports across the country. The goals today include having 35 Aircraft Wash Guys in 2007 and 50 by 2009 and 100 by 2011. Ambitious, Big time, and can they do it? Well they think its possible, time will tell. They do have some competition in the Industry like any business, not much, but they plan on doing whatever it takes to be and stay leading edge.

If you study any service franchise in the United States or in the aviation sector any great company you will see they all came from the most humble beginnings, made mistakes along the way; had to battle with government regulators and competitors and press on to succeed. Of all the great names in aviation hanging up in the wall in museums across the country such as the Wichita Aviation Musuem, Wright Patterson Aviation Museum or even the Smithsonian you see the diehards that make this industry and this country great. Recently Burt Rutan made such a comment to Congress during his testimony on the birth of the private space industry. America is great but we must get out there and take a few risks if we want to stay on top.