assignment fee

What Is An Assignment Fee? A Guide For New Wholesalers

wholesale real estate Mar 20, 2024

Within the world of real estate wholesaling lies a critical transactional component known as the assignment fee. This financial mechanism coincides with transferring contractual obligations from one party, termed the "assignor," to another, recognized as the "assignee." However, its significance transcends mere contractual handovers; it serves as compensation for the professional services rendered by real estate wholesalers.

On the surface, assignment fees are relatively simple to understand. Beneath the surface, however, there are many moving parts that newer investors can gloss over. As a result, we’ve developed the ultimate assignment fee guide to clarify everything there is to know about these financial vehicles.

Readers will better understand the pivotal role assignment fees play in the wholesaling industry. To that end, this guide aims to equip wholesalers with the knowledge they need to navigate the dynamic landscape of assignment fees effectively, starting with the following:

Wholesalers in real estate collect an assignment fee by negotiating contracts with sellers at favorable terms and then assigning these contracts to end buyers for a fee. As a result, assignment fees are how investors make money on wholesale deals, but what exactly are they? There’s more to an assignment fee than a payday.

This article is dedicated to dissecting assignment fees. From understanding their pivotal role in real estate wholesaling to delving into calculation methodologies and payment terms, readers will understand assignment fees comprehensively.

What Is An Assignment Fee In Real Estate?

An assignment fee is a wholesaler's compensation for their pivotal role as a contract flipper. In its simplest form, an assignment fee is the money the wholesaler receives for facilitating the transfer of contractual rights from the original seller to the end buyer. In many ways, an assignment fee is the antithesis of its rehabbing counterpart: flipping profits. Whereas flipping houses requires investors to purchase, take ownership, and sell a property to make a profit, assignment fees are collected without owning a property at all. Instead, wholesalers sell their right to buy a property in return for an assignment fee.

what is an assignment fee in real estate

As a real estate wholesaler, one assumes the role of a conduit, bridging the gap between the end buyer and the seller. This intermediary function involves sourcing lucrative investment opportunities, negotiating favorable terms, and orchestrating seamless transactions. The assignment fee represents the acknowledgment of these services rendered, underscoring the value added by the wholesaler in streamlining the real estate transaction process.

It's important to understand that the assignment fee pertains not to the property itself but rather to the contractual rights associated with its purchase. The wholesaler, often referred to as the contract flipper, relinquishes the right to acquire the property in exchange for the assignment fee tendered by the end buyer. This distinction underscores the essence of wholesaling—leveraging contractual agreements to generate revenue without assuming ownership of the property.

How Are Assignment Fees Calculated?

Determining assignment fees in real estate wholesaling lacks a one-size-fits-all approach; it's a nuanced process tailored to each deal. Investors negotiate fees based on various factors, ranging from a fixed amount, like $5,000, to a percentage of the original purchase price or final selling price, often 5% or 15%, respectively. Either way, balancing profitability for the investor while remaining enticing to the end buyer is crucial.

Calculating an assignment fee requires a deep dive into deal specifics. Understanding numbers such as after-repair-value (ARV) and maximum allowable offer (MAO) is paramount. By considering these metrics, wholesalers can craft mutually beneficial deals for both themselves and sellers. It's about fostering "win-win" scenarios where profitability aligns with fair market value. This process highlights the wholesaler's role as a contract flipper, adept at navigating negotiations and maximizing returns in the real estate market. Mastering these calculations empowers wholesalers to thrive in the dynamic landscape of real estate transactions.

Read Also: Free ARV Calculator: After Repair Value Estimator

Who Pays Assignment Fees?

In a real estate wholesale deal, the assignment fee is typically paid by the "assignee," also known as the end buyer, to compensate the wholesaler for their intermediary services. While exceptions exist, clarifying the fee's payer is crucial and should be stipulated in the contract. Provisions such as assignment clauses, specific forms, criteria, and restrictions must also be outlined meticulously. 

It's highly advisable to enlist the expertise of a qualified legal professional to review wholesale contracts, ensuring their legitimacy, legality, and alignment with the intended agreements. Legal scrutiny safeguards against potential pitfalls, mitigating risks and protecting the interests of all parties involved in the transaction. This step is essential for upholding contractual integrity and fostering a transparent and compliant real estate wholesale process.

Does The Assignment Fee Show Up On The HUD?

In most cases, any type of loan fee expense will appear on the HUD-1. Typically, various loan-related expenses, such as document preparation fees, application fees, draw fees, wire fees, and assignment fees, are detailed on the HUD-1 settlement statement. 

The inclusion of the assignment fee on this statement, governed by local laws and deal structure, fosters transparency, thereby enhancing trust between real estate wholesalers and parties involved. However, its appearance may sometimes prompt scrutiny from sellers regarding the wholesaler's potential earnings, potentially prompting considerations for a double closing strategy. 

The assignment fee may find its place in Section 200 of the HUD-1, alongside other transactions credited to the buyer, or Section 1300 for additional settlement charges. 

It's imperative to consult with a tax advisor to ensure compliance with IRS regulations concerning income and expense reporting, as nondisclosure could lead to legal repercussions for wholesaler entities, emphasizing the importance of transparency in wholesale real estate transactions.

Are Assignment Fees Taxable?

Navigating tax implications is crucial for real estate wholesalers to maintain compliance and avoid unwanted entanglements with the IRS. Staying informed about the latest IRS guidelines, available on www.irs.gov, is essential to ensure accurate income reporting.

“Generally, you must include in gross income everything you receive in payment for personal services. In addition to wages, salaries, commissions, fees, and tips, this includes other forms of compensation such as fringe benefits and stock options,” according to the IRS

Given the nuanced nature of tax laws, it is advisable to consult a tax advisor for personalized guidance tailored to individual circumstances. Real estate wholesalers can navigate tax obligations confidently and mitigate risks by staying informed and seeking professional advice.

Can a Real Estate Agent Get An Assignment Fee?

Yes, real estate agents can potentially earn an assignment fee through wholesaling activities. Wholesaling involves connecting buyers with sellers and does not always require specialized credentials beyond facilitating transactions; this means that licensed real estate agents can engage in wholesaling alongside their traditional real estate activities. To earn an assignment fee, agents typically identify properties priced below market value, negotiate wholesale agreements with sellers, and then connect them with buyers at an agreed-upon price, earning a fee for their services. 

However, real estate agents must comply with all relevant laws and regulations governing real estate transactions and wholesaling activities in their jurisdiction. Additionally, they should consider potential conflicts of interest and ensure that their actions align with their fiduciary responsibilities to their clients.

Thinking about investing in real estate? Join Alex Martinez at his FREE training to learn how to get started with house flipping and wholesaling!

What Is An Assignment Fee Contract?

A real estate assignment fee contract is a crucial document that outlines the terms and conditions of the wholesale transaction between the wholesaler and the end buyer. Here are the key items that should be included in such a contract:

  • Parties Involved: Clearly identify the parties involved in the transaction—the wholesaler (assignor), the end buyer (assignee), and any other pertinent parties, such as the original seller.
  • Property Details: Provide comprehensive details about the property being wholesaled, including its address, legal description, and any relevant property identifiers.
  • Assignment Fee Amount: Specify the exact amount of the assignment fee that the end buyer agrees to pay to the wholesaler for transferring the contract rights.
  • Purchase Price: Outline the agreed-upon purchase price between the original seller and the end buyer; this helps ensure transparency and clarity about the financial aspects of the transaction.
  • Terms & Conditions: Define the terms and conditions of the assignment, including any deadlines, contingencies, or other obligations that must be met by both parties.
  • Assignment Clause: Include a clear and legally binding assignment clause that allows the wholesaler to assign their rights and obligations under the contract to the end buyer.
  • Contingencies: Specify any contingencies that must be satisfied for the assignment to proceed smoothly, such as obtaining financing or conducting inspections.
  • Closing Details: Outline the closing process, including the date, time, and location of the closing, as well as any documents or funds required from each party.
  • Representations & Warranties: Include any representations and warranties made by both parties regarding the property, the transaction, and their legal authority to enter into the contract.
  • Signatures: Require signatures from all parties involved to indicate their agreement and acceptance of the terms outlined in the contract.

assignment of contract template

By including these essential items in a real estate assignment fee contract, wholesalers can ensure clarity, enforceability, and legal protection throughout the transaction process. It's also advisable to consult with a qualified real estate attorney to draft or review the contract to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Assignment Fee Contract Template

Usually, wholesalers receive a deposit upon signing the Assignment of Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement contract. The agreed-upon terms will describe how the assignor relinquishes their rights, responsibilities, and obligations to the assignee at closing when the remaining portion of their previously negotiated assignment fee is paid. 

To help ensure you’re on the right track, download our free assignment of contract template and other great tools like our sample purchase agreement. Keep these around for all your upcoming real estate deals. 

Final Thoughts On Assignment Fees

Many investors dream of launching a career in wholesale real estate. Some believe they can hop on the bandwagon and do it in their spare time, on a whim. 

It’s important to fully understand how an assignment is a legal process where an individual in possession of the property (the assignor) transfers rights, property, or other benefits to another identified third party (the assignee). When it comes to an assignment of contract in real estate wholesaling, the assignment fee comes into play with a property that is currently under contract but hasn’t yet been purchased. 

As a wholesaler finds a property and enters into a sales agreement for the end buyer to purchase the property, the original contract is assigned to the new end buyer. When all goes according to the plan, the assignor collects the assignment fee after finding someone to carry out the terms of the assignment of contract.

Those with the most successful real estate wholesaling businesses are laser-focused on creating mutually agreeable solutions for sellers, end buyers, and themselves. 

As you learned, the best wholesalers balance people skills with sales, marketing, and real estate investing strengths to solve problems for both sellers and end buyers. Ultimately, everyone wins.

Do you have what it takes? We’d love to hear your stories about the best assignment fees you’ve received!

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