/
Marketing

What is an Assignment Fee? The Ultimate Wholesaler’s Guide

In real estate investing, an assignment fee is the fee paid by the end buyer to the real estate wholesaler at the time of closing.

Post by REISift Team
Listen on other platforms

What is an assignment fee? 

How do you assign a real estate contract? 

How can you increase your assignment fee as a real estate wholesaler? 

Those are just some of the questions we're going to answer in this ultimate assignment fee guide. 

Let's dive in!

Part 1. Answering Common Questions About Assignment Fees

To start, we're going to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about assignment fees.

What is an assignment fee? 

In real estate investing, an assignment fee is the fee paid by the end buyer to the real estate wholesaler at the time of closing. 

This is the part of the process where the real estate wholesaler makes their money -- after finding a great deal and getting the property under contract, they then flip (i.e. assign) that contract to a cash buyer for a profit. 

How are assignment fees calculated? 

Assignment fees are calculated by taking the difference between what the seller was promised and what the buyer is paying. 

For example, if a wholesaler has a contract to purchase a property for $100,000 and they assign that contract to a cash buyer for $120,000, then their assignment fee would be $20,000.

Who pays the assignment fee? 

The assignment fee is paid by the cash buyer at closing. 

And, critically, you -- the wholesaler -- are the person who gets to decide what that assignment fee is... it's only a matter of getting the cash buyer to agree (assuming you're not doing a double closing; more on that later). 

What is the average wholesaler’s assignment fee? 

The average assignment fee for a real estate wholesaler is between $2000 and $7000. 

Of course, this number will depend on the market you're in as well as the level of experience that you have. 

Many wholesalers charge upwards of $10,000 or even $20,000 for their assignment fee. Later in this guide, we'll show you how to systematically increase your assignment fee. 

REISift users, on average, pull more money per deal than non-members. Here are some testimonials from our members and Sift Dojo attendees. 

Are assignment fees taxable? 

Yes, assignment fees are considered taxable income. 

Be sure to speak with your accountant or tax advisor about the specific rules in your state. 

What is a real estate assignment contract? 

A real estate assignment contract is the contract between the wholesaler and the cash buyer that assigns (or transfers) the rights of the original purchase agreement to the cash buyer. 

This contract will include all of the terms of the original purchase agreement, including: 

  • The price that was agreed to between the wholesaler and seller  
  • The property address 
  • The closing date 
  • Any contingencies that were in the original contract (i.e. financing, inspections, etc.) 

Once the assignment contract is signed by both parties, the cash buyer will take over all responsibilities under the original purchase agreement and will be responsible for closing on the property.

What is a double close? 

A double close is a type of real estate transaction where the wholesaler sells the property to the cash buyer and then immediately purchases the property from the seller. 

In other words, there are two closings -- one for the sale of the property from wholesaler to cash buyer and another for the purchase of the property from seller to wholesaler. 

In terms of assignment fees, double closings are often used when the wholesaler wants to keep their assignment fee confidential.

Part 2. How To Assign a Real Estate Contract 

Next, we're going to discuss the process for assigning a real estate contract -- from finding a great deal and building your buyers list to acquiring an assignment contract and collecting your assignment fee. 

Step 1. Find a Great Deal

The first step in wholesaling real estate -- and thus assigning property contracts -- is finding a great real estate deal. 

This is where your marketing efforts will come into play. You'll need to generate a steady stream of leads in order to find the best possible deals on properties that fit your criteria. 

There are a number of ways to generate leads, but the most effective method is to use a combination of online and offline marketing. 

This could include everything from direct mail campaigns and cold calling to driving for dollars and door knocking. 

Check out our complete real estate investor marketing plan to learn more about this part of the process. 

Step 2. Build Your Buyers List

A fundamental part of wholesaling real estate is flipping property contracts to cash buyers who have the funds to purchase your deals within just a couple of weeks. 

A buyers list is a database of cash buyers (other real estate investors) who are interested in buying your deals. 

You can find cash buyers by networking with other investors, attending real estate meetups and seminars, or searching online. 

Here are 10 more ways to find cash buyers

Step 3. Acquire an Assignment Contract

Once you've found a great real estate deal and got under contract with the seller, it's time to acquire an assignment contract. 

You can do this by searching online for assignment contract templates or hiring a local lawyer to put the contract together for you. The assignment contract will pass the purchasing power and obligations from you to the new buyer.

Step 4. Collect Your Assignment Fee

After the new buyer has closed on the property, it's time for you to collect your assignment fee. This is typically done by wire transfer or check at the closing table via a title company. 

And that's it! You've now successfully assigned a real estate contract and collected your assignment fee. 

Part 3. The Pros & Cons of Assignment Contracts

Now let's take a moment to look at the pros and cons of assignment contracts. 

Pros

  • It's Cheaper Than Double Closing:  Double closings can be more expensive (in terms of both time and money) than assignment contracts. 
  • It's Simple: Assignment contracts are relatively simple compared to other types of real estate transactions. 
  • It's Fast:  Assignment contracts can be completed in as little as a week or two. 
  • It's Transparent: Unlike double closings, there is no need for two sets of escrow accounts, two sets of title insurance policies, or two sets of closing costs. 

Cons

  • Your Assignment Fee is Visible: Because your assignment fee is paid at closing, it will be visible to everyone involved in the transaction. 
  • It's Not Always Allowed: Some states have laws that prohibit or restrict the use of assignment contracts.

Part 4. 10 Ideas For Increasing Your Assignment Fee as a Wholesaler

To close out this guide, we're going to share 10 different ways that you -- the real estate wholesaler -- can increase your assignment fee. 

1. Start With Great Deals

The better the deal, the higher your assignment fee will be.

This is why finding great deals -- and double-checking your math as well as your due diligence -- is absolutely critical to increasing your assignment fee. 

So how do you find great real estate deals? 

We have a detailed guide on finding great real estate deals over here.

2. Learn to Negotiate (With Sellers)

If you want to increase your assignment fee, you need to be able to negotiate with sellers. 

The better you are at negotiating and sales — which in large part, just depends upon being an empathetic and helpful person — the better deals you’ll be able to get and the higher your assignment fee will be. 

After all, if the seller agrees to a lower price, then that means you make a bigger profit. 

The caveat here would be that you should always do right by your sellers. Don’t be afraid to negotiate (start lower than your max offer)... but also don’t try to screw anyone over. 

3. Follow Up

It’s very rare that you’re going to turn someone from a lead into a deal with just a single phone call. 

The nature of wholesaling real estate is that it requires a consistent and systematic follow-up process with seller leads to be successful. 

Following up will help you close more deals… and closing more deals will give you the confidence, experience, and volume you need to increase your assignment fee. 

4. Find Your Offer Min & Max

Good real estate deals are just a result of good due diligence and good math. 

Determine how much money your cash buyer is going to want to pull, factor in your assignment fee, consider repair costs and holding costs… and calculate your max offer on the property. 

Do this before you negotiate with the seller. 

And make sure that when negotiations begin, you start well below your max offer so that you have room to adjust based on their response to your initial offer — this is your minimum offer. 

You might find your max offer by using the popular 70% rule — which states that a real estate investor should pay no more than 70% of a property’s ARV (After Repair Value) — but you can find your starting offer by decreasing that to 50% or lower. 

5. Qualify Your Cash Buyers

The amount of your assignment fee — as well as the efficiency with which your business operates — depends upon high-quality cash buyers. 

Most wholesalers are a little over-eager to add email addresses to their cash buyer list. 

But remember: quality over quantity. 

You might have 500 cash buyers on your list… but only 20 or 30 of those are actually high-quality buyers. 

SO…

Before adding buyers to your list, get proof of funds and make sure they’ve bought properties via assignment before. 

Those buyers are going to move faster, pay the asking price for your properties, and return for more properties to buy.

6. Identify Cohorts of Cash Buyers

The instinct for most wholesalers is to send every deal to every cash buyer… but that actually wastes a lot of time. 

It’s not in your interest to have to help every potential buyer determine whether or not they’re the right buyer for this deal. 

It’s far more efficient to learn about your buyers upfront and determine what type of cash buyers they are — rehabbers, landlords, etc. 

Using simple software, you can then create cohorts of cash buyers and send the right deal to the right people to get faster turn-around-times, less questions, and bigger assignment fees. 

7. Text Your Buyers

Email is easy and popular… but it’s not necessarily the best channel when promoting deals to your list of cash buyers. 

In fact, SMS or text messaging has some clear advantages. 

Just consider these stats from ManyChat

  • 269 billion emails are sent every day with roughly 50% of them ending up in spam folders.
  • SMS has a click-through rate of 19% and email has a click-through rate of 3.2%

The point is, if you want to get the attention of your high-quality buyers, then it’s probably worth sending both emails and text messages. 

The faster you reach the right buyer, the easier it’ll be to get the assignment fee you want. 

8. Don’t Negotiate (With Buyers)

As the wholesaler, realize that you determine your assignment fee. 

No one else gets to decide what your assignment fee is going to be — now if you can’t get the buyer to agree to pay it, then that’s another problem… but you can always walk away and find another buyer. 

If you’re going to raise your assignment fee, then it’s important to understand that all you have to do is… well, raise it. And see what happens.

High-quality buyers aren’t going to care about how much you’re making so long as they’re also making a good chunk of money.

9. Work With Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents control a huge part of every real estate market. 

So if you exclude working with real estate agents to find cash buyers, then you’re ignoring a huge portion of the market’s revenue and potential. 

Plain and simple. 

Good real estate agents who work with cash buyers will understand your business model and be more than willing to coordinate the deal for you. 

You will have to pay a bit of commission — or at least, the buyer will — but you’ll get to remove all the drama from the equation by working with agents. They understand how assignments work, and they negotiate on the behalf of the cash buyer. 

It might not drastically increase your assignment fee, but it will help you dispose of deals far more efficiently. 

10. Require a Nonrefundable Fee

When it comes to wholesaling, time really is money — the faster you can find a high-quality cash buyer, the more likely you are to get the assignment fee you want. 

And one of the worst things that can happen is that your buyer will back out of the deal and you’ll have to restart the entire process. 

That’s why you should make the buyer have skin in the game.

Require a nonrefundable fee from cash buyers who are ready to take action — this fee should be upwards of $3,000 and it can contribute to your total assignment fee. 

If a buyer refuses to pay this to secure the deal as they’re own, then you probably want to find a different buyer anyway.

Final Thoughts on Real Estate Assignment Fees

We hope this guide has helped clear up any confusion you had about assignment fees and how they work in wholesaling real estate. 

Remember: if you want to increase your assignment fee, focus on finding (and negotiating) great deals, following up with leads, qualifying cash buyers, and being systematic in your business. 

Do those things, and you’ll be well on your way to making more money per deal. 

Visit our Store to see all the courses available