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 Sell Your Car Part 2: How to Find Buyers

Today, the preparations are over and you are ready to locate some buyers.

Notice that I said you are ready to “locate buyers” instead of “advertise your car.” This is an important and intentional distinction. There is a big difference between putting a for sale sign in the window and being proactive about selling your vehicle.

“For Sale” signs won’t sell your car. You have to sell your car. To do that, you have to locate a buyer.

The first step in locating buyers is to make yourself easy to find.

Put your car everywhere. eBay, Craigslist, Cars.com, AutoTrader, Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your church bulletin board, your bulletin board at work, the bulletin board at the gym, and on and on.

Many of the listing sights, such as Cars.com, will allow you to print up a really attractive flyer for your listing. It should be in color, have pictures, and have all necessary information including the price you decided on in my previous article on preparing sell your car.

Make sure all of your listings are consistent and put as many pictures up as the site will permit. Make sure you take lots of clear pictures and be prepared to e-mail more as necessary.

The next step in locating buyers is talking to people.

I was shocked that after only a couple of months with a Facebook account, I had over 200 “friends.” Do I really know 200 people? I guess so. You probably do to. Make it your goal that every one of those people will know that you have a car for sale. Every. One.

Even though you put flyers everywhere, remember that flyers aren’t responsible for selling your car either. Putting up flyers isn’t the end goal, selling the car is. So be proactive.

Send out an e-mail blast to your friends with a few moderately sized photos. Talk to everyone at work. Talk to everyone at the gym. Talk to everyone at the church. Don’t be shy.

Ask them, “Did you see my flyer on the bulletin board? I’m selling my 2002 Wrangler, if you know anyone.” That’s it! How much time did that take? Two seconds? No pressure. No sales tactics. And it will be worth while when you hear, “You know, my cousin is looking for one of those. I’ll take him a flyer.”

The final step in locating buyers is following up.

If someone e-mails you, e-mail them back. If someone calls you, call them back. If someone is taking a flyer to their cousin, ask how that went and see if you can get their e-mail to send some more photos.

You don’t have to be obnoxious or annoying, but you also don’t have to wait for someone to beg you for your car before you actually try to sell it.

If you follow these three steps, you shouldn’t have any trouble locating buyers for your well priced, clean, and inspected vehicle.

Next step, what to do once you have a buyer.