Equity Holding Trust™

Equity Holding Trust™ has been helping Buyers, Sellers, Investors and Real Estate Professionals close transactions for more than 30 Years. Let us demonstrate to you the value of using the EHTrust™ by watching our 20 minute instructional video. The site is filled with additional answers to your questions so take your time and explore each of the sections that apply to you.

I'm Looking for a Home Without A Down Payment or Loan Qualifying

Ordinarily a  sale and transfer of real estate happens when an owner, choosing to sell, seller places another party on the property's publicly recorded title as a new owner.  When this process is done in the "regular" fashion--'depending on the...

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Ordinarily a  sale and transfer of real estate happens when an owner, choosing to sell, seller places another party on the property's publicly recorded title as a new owner.  When this process is done in the "regular" fashion--'depending on the property's geographical location--the deed ('grant deed, warranty deed, or a bargain and sale deed) is transferred within an "escrow" process, wherein the properties legal title is entrusted with an escrow settlement official to hold until the transaction has been completed.  This trusted, temporary holder of legal ownership is virtually always an officer of a licensed and bonded escrow company; a settlement official within a title insurance company; an attorney; or sometimes it may be the real estate broker responsible for the sale.

It should be noted here that this temporary conveyance of title-ownership in escrow serves to protect both buyer and seller from illicit or untoward actions by the other party ('such as, say, attempting to unilaterally alter the terms of the purchase agreement; secretly borrowing on the property prior to transfer; causing liens against the property following title inspection, tampering with the verbiage in the public record, etc.).

HOWEVER, in a bonafide "land trust transfer (e.g., as is used the ODWM EHTrust Transfer®)"…'instead of granting the properties title to a buyer (i.e., "vesting it in the buyer"), title is vested in a qualified third-party trustee (acting as title-holder in a beneficiary-directed, title-holding trust ('most commonly referred to as an Illinois-type "Land Trust"), and appointing the acquiring party (the "would-be buyer") to the position of "Remainder Co-beneficiary." At this point that party receives all (100%) of the benefits of fee-simple real estate ownership, along with the added advantage of virtually perfect asset-protection, relative to future legal threats against the property.

In other words, by employing the EHTrust Transfer®, the acquiring party is afforded full income tax write-off for mortgage interest and property tax expense; future appreciation potential, equity build-up from mortgage principal reduction; full use and occupancy of the property; all available water and mineral rights; and the right to lease, sublease, rent or sell ('as mutually agreed-to and stipulated in the contract).

In addition to the above,. the resident beneficiary's ("buyer's") real property ownership is shielded against creditor judgements; IRS and/or state tax liens; bankruptcy; actions in marital dissolution; obligations in probate; and potentially irreconcilable dispute between the parties themselves.

In that the land trust transfer is directly analogous to a long-term  escrow process, the presence of the third-party title-holder prevents any party's untoward or illegal actions, or actions that would be detrimental to the other party/ies or to the property's title (i.e., nothing can be done with regard to title, the underlying loan or the property itself without 100% concurrence by all beneficiaries).

WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES? Other than the need for all parties to comport themselves in accord with the best interest of the other parties, the EHTrust actually affords far more benefits than does any seller-assisted financing device, or even a traditional home sale and purchase…'especially from  standpoint  of asset-protection.  One's ownership of beneficiary interest remains wholly private, secret, unrecorded and unassailable by judgement creditors.

I'm Wanting to Sell and Will Consider Owner-Carry Financing

Seller Financing (Owner-Carry) is Most Often Undertaken For the Following Reasons:

  • ** I want top-dollar for the property (or maybe a bit more), and I'm willing to wait a while for it
  • ** I want more monthly income...
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Seller Financing (Owner-Carry) is Most Often Undertaken For the Following Reasons:

  • ** I want top-dollar for the property (or maybe a bit more), and I'm willing to wait a while for it
  • ** I want more monthly income than I could get from a traditional (conforming) sale or lease today
  • ** I don't want to pay real estate commissions and closing costs
  • ** I don't have time to wait for a conventional buyer with great credit and a full down payment
  • ** I'm willing to "carry paper (keep the current mortgage in place)" in order to avoid the rigmarole of a traditional financing approval and closing
  • ** I can't sell conventionally because the property is over-encumbered and I can't afford the pay-off
  • ** I've tried for a short sale or loan modification and was rejected
  • ** The property is too much in need of repairs and there is too little equity for me to afford selling to a traditional mortgage-borrower
  • ** I've borrowed on the prperty and will now owe way too much income tax if I sell traditionally
  • ** I want monthly cash-flow and furture profit from this property…'after the sale is made
  • ** I'm in foreclosure (or about to be) and need someone to take the property and payments over to avoid the credit damage
  • ** I'm in foreclosure and will do anything in my power to prevent the bank from getting their crooked, ill-gotten windfall profit at my expense

Standard Vehicles Used (Perhaps All Too Often) For Seller-Assisted (Seller-Carry) Real Estate Acquisition and Disposition:

  • ** The Lease Option (a unilateral option to buy until a stipulated future date)
  • ** The Lease Purchase (a bi-lateral contract to buy at a specific future date)
  • ** The Equity Share ('one party makes or carries a down payment, while another lives in the property  covering all payments for a stipulated time, following which the property is sold and the net profits proceeds are divided between them)
  • ** The Contract for Deed/Land Sale Contract  (a buyer [vendee] makes payments to the seller [vendor] until the property is paid-for, at which time the Deed is transferred )
  • The Seller-Carried All-Inclusive Mortgage/"Wrap," or "All Inclusive Trust Deed" (a loan is made to a buyer that is larger than the existing loan/s on the property: the seller then receives payments on the larger amount, from which existing liens are paid, with the overage being taken in as monthly cash-flow)
  • ** The Rent to Own ('analogous to a lease option…'just a more marketable term and a contract that can, if opted for, be set on a month-to-month rental basis)

Why The ODWM EHTrust Transfer® Is ('Should Always Be) Used In Any Seller-Carry Scenario.  Here's What I Demand of a Seller-Carry Transaction:

  • ** I want to make top-dollar on this property
  • ** want a larger market to sell to. There are thousands more buyers with marginal credit and minimal cash than there are those with big savings and perfect credit
  • ** When I "carry paper" for a buyer, I have to know that I am avoiding the triggering of a mortgage lender's alienation provision (i.e., 'avoiding violation of the Due-on-Sale Clause)
  • ** I want to leave my existing mortgage in place, but never worry about difficulties with foreclosure, eviction and dispossession of a defaulting tenant-buyer
  • ** I want to avoid any threats against the property: creditor judgements, IRS liens, marital dissolution litigation, bankruptcy actions, and Probate Administration
  • ** I want to avert any illicit, untoward or potentially deleterious secretive actions by my resident-buyer, 'which would (could) severely impact me: personally, legally or financially
  • ** I have to avoid payment of onerous income tax on any realized capital gain that would result from a traditional sale of the property (…'at least until the termination of the trust agreement some years in the future ('at which time IRS§1031 Exchange privileges can be invoked to further defer such taxation)
  • ** It's important that all mortgage payments and other disbursements be handled by a third-party collection and bill-paying service: not one of the parties int he transaction
  • ** I choose to shield (hide) my ownership in real estate from public view (e.g., creditors, lawyers, the government, nosy neighbors and family)
  • ** I want to be able to pass income full tax write-off benefits to my lease tenant/s in exchange for higher rents and freedom from landlord worries and expenses (i.e., management, maintenance, collections, homeowners dues and citations, repairs, insurance and property tax)


As most may know, a standard real estate sale and transfer is accomplished by a seller's receiving requisite compensation and placing another party on the property's title (i.e., on the deed) as a new owner.  Depending on the area in which the property is located--the deed ('grant deed, warranty deed, or bargain and sales deed) is executed and transferred by means of a third-party "escrow" process, by either an officer of a state-licensed and bonded escrow company; a settlement official within a title insurance company; an attorney; or by the real estate broker responsible for the sale.

HOWEVER, in a bonafide ODWM EHTrust Transfer®), much of the expense and time-drain of an ordinary real estate transaction is eliminated.  For example, rather than one's granting the title to a buyer, the property-owner can vest the property's title in a third-party trustee, who acts as title-holder for the beneficiaries of the nominee trust ('most commonly referred to as an Illinois-type "Land Trust"), which is the foundation of the ODWM EHTrust Transfer®.  By handling the transfer in this manner, control by the settlor ('the owner of record) and power-of-direction over the actions of the trustee are retained and the "buyer need not be granted full title until the transaction terminates some years in the future..

person executes a triple-net occupancy agreement with the trustee.  A this point, all the benefits of ownership have been passed to that party…the resident beneficiary…'without the necessity of placing the acquiring party on title until the loan is retired, the trust and occupancy agreement are terminated, and the resident beneficiary either sells or refinances in its own name some months or years later.  At the point of sale (at the trust's stipulated termination date), any equity you may have held at the inception of the agreement is paid to you, the non-resident (seller) beneficiary, along with any monetary contribution you may have made during the course of the agreement ('if any).  The remainder of all net proceeds are then divided between the parties with respect to their respective percentages of beneficiary interest in the trust (fully agreed-to at inception).

Note that during the course of the agreement the resident beneficiary is bound by contract to cover all costs of ownership (e.g., mortgage payments, property tax, insurance, management, homeowner's dues and maintenance).

By use of this very safe and convenient method of transfer (the ODWM EHTrust Transfer®), you, the trustor (settlor), are afforded 100% of the benefits of having sold the property on a contingency sale basis ('just as one might be with any riskier means, such as, say, a Contract-for-Deed, an Equity-Share, a Lease Option or All-Inclusive Mortgage)…none of which provide the added benefit of virtually perfect asset protection (re. the property).

ANY owner of ANY TYPE of real estate would be well-advised to remove his/her identity from the public record and the resultant exposure of their real estate assets to the public.  This kind of protection is easily accomplished by placing the property ('land, single family house, condo, townhouse, PUD (“Planned Unit Development”), commercial project or mufti-unit building) into the title-holding land trust


Ease of Tax Reporting and Record Keeping. 

Ease of eviction.  ‘Even though the EHTrust resident beneficiary enjoys full ownership benefits, he/she is never an owner of the property, until the trust terminates and the mortgage is retired ('the trustee is the legal and equitable owner at your beckoning throughout the term).  The tenant beneficiary is only an owner per se of beneficiary interest in the entity that owns the property (the trust).  Therefore, in the event of a default, a tenant eviction is all that's needed: versus the costly, exasperating and time-consuming judicial foreclosure and ejectment actions necessary to cure default in other owner-carry scenarios.

Versatility.  It's important to know that the safe and effective ODWM EHTrust Transfer® can be easily structured to accommodate the intent and purpose (and all the benefits) of any creative contingency financing device, such:  the lease option, the land sale contract, the contract-for-deed, the equity-share, the lease, the lease option, the lease purchase or the tax-lease (e.g., a rental tenant can be given full tax benefits without a title transfer, and without any participation in future profits)…’all without any of the down-sides of "creative financing" schemes and devices…'including avoidance of spiritually any lender's due-on-sale clause (i.e., the admonition against title transfer without express lender  permission).

I Am Seeking an Owner-Carry Real Estate Investment Scenario

WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE DO IT: These steps are for the passive investor, seeking a no down, no credit qualifying property acquisition

  1. Find a motivated seller who is overburdened by an unwanted property, and agree to take...
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WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE DO IT: These steps are for the passive investor, seeking a no down, no credit qualifying property acquisition

  1. Find a motivated seller who is overburdened by an unwanted property, and agree to take it off his/her hands…often, though not always, for a reasonable amount to be paid to you (i.e., never look for properties…'only look for motivated sellers: each one will have a property).
  2. When the property is located, rather than your taking title to the property, have the owner (for his/her own safety) place the property in a title-holding land trust, naming you (the acquiring party) as a co-beneficiary in his/her trust, rather than an owner of the property…
  3. A competent, licensed, bonded, non-profit 3rd-party corporate trustee is then named, that will be charged with holding the property's legal and equitable title for a predetermined period of time (up to 21 years, or the length of the underlying financing, whichever is greater)
  4. At this point you and the owner-of-record decide how future profits are to be shared (i.e., in what percentage) and how your respective beneficiary interests are to be set, with the owner agreeing to hold at least 10% of the trust's beneficiary interest for the term of the agreement.  At termination it can be decided that this 10% can either forfeited to you, or it can represent a percentage of profit that the settlor (the seller) might expect to be paid when the property is either sold or refinanced at termination ('all such stipulations are negotiated at inception).
  5. Once the trust and the terms of the Co-beneficiary Agreement are agreed-upon (i.e., 'analogous to a partnership agreement), the you (the acquiring beneficiary) can now bring in a "buyer" prospect as a third co-beneficiary the trust.  This party will then, under provisions of a "triple-net" lease agreement with the trustee, pay you your price for the privilege of that person's having acquired a home without a down payment or credit qualifying…'and being afforded 100% of the fee-simple benefits of real estate ownership.

By using the ODWM EHTrust Transfer® in this manner one obviously avoids long and costly escrow, a Realtor® commissions, new title insurance, and the loan application and approval process.  The entire, fully safer and secure, transfer of ownership can take place in no more than a day or two ('assuming clarity of title and easy accessibility and responsiveness of all parties).

When in search of a property that you might acquire by any form of seller-carry ("creative") financing, it is imperative that you spend adequate time (i.e., ‘a few hours, not days or weeks, as so many professional procrastinators do) exploring your options, your prospect-base and what investing parameters you feel are most important to you (i.e., long-term or short term-hold, fix-up and flip, developing massive income streams, etc..

Some important considerations:

  1. Determine the type of properties that appeal to you
  2. Check the geographical areas in which you are most comfortable
  3. Know the relative properties values and rental factors in the areas your working
  4. Determine the type of prospect you chose to deal with
  5. Plan out how you will reach your prospect base (i.e., by phone, direct mail, email, door knocking or…?)
  6. Know well your exit strategy throughout all phases of your prospecting, from offering and deal-structuring to terminating the transaction years later
  7. And most important of all…'have a competent coach and mentor…'no matter what!  Never be afraid to copy a winner!


A key piece of advice in locating and acquiring income-producing real estate without large upfront expense and negative cash-flow, is to stop--before you start--and understand clearly that you are not, and cannot be all things to all people!

Even though we at ODWM collectively have solutions for virtually every problem and situation out there, there are simply some properties that are too-run down, too over-encumbered, and too far away…or ugly…to be a part of your manageable portfolio.  As well, there are sellers of properties who are too rude, to arrogant and too desirous of being the proverbial "dog" and making you the "tail," while they direct all the “wagging”…usually while holding the unreachable carrot in front of your nose ('been there…'done that!).

I Need to Dump an Over-Encumbered Property W/O $$ Loss

FIRST OF ALL, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY if you have a property of ANY kind that you don't want any more, especially if you can leave the current mortgage in place for a while: this especially pertains to over-encumbered properties! We'll take them off...

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FIRST OF ALL, CALL ME IMMEDIATELY if you have a property of ANY kind that you don't want any more, especially if you can leave the current mortgage in place for a while: this especially pertains to over-encumbered properties! We'll take them off your hands in hummingbird's heartbeat!  (Well…that’s maybe too quick…’how about in a manatee’s or a three-toed tree sloth’s heart beat? That’s still pretty fast!)


First, we ask that you make telephone and E-mail contact with us, so we might discuss the property and determine the situation (i.e., the value-to-loan ratio, the monthly payment amounts and the amount of any arrearages and/or penalties currently due.

The amount of monthly payments or the home value relative to "normal" is not usually important to us at all ('because we are not "normal")..

We next arrange to meet you at the property, take some pictures, and talk about any repairs or improvement that might be needed (if any).

We then ask that you,--at our expense--place the property's title with a bonafide trustee (i.e., a non-profit 501C California charitable corporation) for a title holding land trust.  At which point you become the trust's "settlor" ("grantor" or "trustor") and the trust's sole beneficiary, with full Power-of-Direction (i.e, over all actions and duties of the trustee).

Next, we ask that you name us as a co-beneficiary with you in your trust ('note that there is no title transfer to us in this scenario): at which point you assign to us a 90% beneficiary interest,* along with mutual power of direction (i.e., 'as a co-beneficiary, we cannot direct the trustee in any manner unless you are in full [100%] express ["written"] agreement with us).

The contract between us (the Beneficiary Agreement) will then allow me to market for, and nominate a third co-beneficiary in the trust who will live in the property and handle payments, insurance, taxes,management, and maintenance…with my guarantee and 'under threat of immediate eviction and loss of their posted Contingency Fund in the event of payment default.

Due to the nature of the transaction's structure, judicial foreclosure, default-notification time limits, demurrers TRO's and/or forced ejectment actions ('all the "tricks" of the professional tenant mooch) will never become obstacles due to the trust structure.

Generally, a property that is no more than. say 10% to 15% over-encumbered requires no participation on the part of the mortgage debtor of record (you); however, if the monthly payments would prove too blatantly exorbitant, the following explains how we determine the homeowner's financial participation ('should such become necessary).

Upon your acceptance, we will market the property to our buyer (fully with his/her knowledge and acceptance) at about 10%-15% more than the actual appraised value (i.e., quite reasonable in view of the very low qualification parameters and the small amount of upfront cash required).  But should that amount constitute less than at least, say, $100 per-month in positive cash-flow to me for the term of the agreement, we then ask that you cover the overage in re. the mortgage payments until the property appreciates a bit ('we will, of course, have it re-evaluated semi-annually at your direction, for the term of the agreement).

Once we place our resident beneficiary in the trust and in the property, our agreement is generally for a period of at least five (5) years: at the end of which the resident beneficiary is obligated to do one of these four things:

  1. Refinance the property in it’s own name and pay to us our share of any profit gained,
  2. 'Sell the property and pay us our share of any profit gained,
  3. Petition for renewal or extension of the contract for another 2, 3 or 4 years (‘you and I retain the absolute right to refuse or append), or
  4. Return the property to us in move-in, marketable condition…’or forfeit all of the prepaid Contingency Fund, along with any improvements having been made to the property.  All necessary repairs are the responsibility of the resident beneficiary, who is remains subject to litigation in the event of a default in his/her obligation.

NOTE that the EHTransfer System™ has been used in well over 7,000 of these types of transactions over the past 25+ years without a single failure or unresolved problem ('functional or legal) for any of their clients.  Note however, that ODWMG has, over that expanse of time, been included in lawsuits on various levels (i.e., prior to, say, 7-8 years ago); but they have consistently won, or were released, in every case due to the integrity of the ODWM EHTrust® model.