Where To Begin Investing in Real Estate
There very well may be more pieces of advice pertaining to real estate investing than there are pieces of property available. While land is limited, opinions are not. Because dumb luck isn’t dependable, the best piece of advice is to make sure you understand the basic principles of a good real estate investment. Here are some essential tips to increase your chances of profiting.
Learn Everything You Can About the Location
Emerging neighborhoods or established areas that are growing or becoming trendy represent good opportunities. Don’t get swept up in hype and overpay if you’re late on the scene, however — prices may have peaked. Still, location typically is even more important to investing success than the condition of the actual property. Also research income, employment and age demographics — and even local crime rates.
Adhere to the 1 Percent Rule
If the primary objective of your investment is to generate rental income, the monthly rental income should be no less than 1 percent of the purchase price (e.g., a $250,000 property should rent for at least $2,500 a month). This will create an annual 12 percent return — minus overhead, of course (repairs, taxes, etc.) — and typically lets you recoup your initial investment in a reasonable timeframe.
Understand Taxes and 1031 Exchange Opportunities
Taxes are complicated. Property taxes will offset some of your revenue. Your income taxes may be further reduced by a property depreciation write-off. An investment strategy called a 1031 exchange also has tax implications, allowing you to defer capital gains taxes when you sell one investment property and re-invest the proceeds in a subsequent investment property. Consult a tax professional for help with these scenarios.
Here are more basics that are less complicated, but still important:
- Understand the big picture. Track the performance of the U.S. economy as a whole. The best real estate opportunities may present themselves during a recession or the initial stages of recovery.
- If you have a real estate investment portfolio and not just one property, spread the risk among different industries and locations.
- Have a plan. Outline both short- and long-term goals before getting started. Have a budget and an ownership timeline in mind, especially if you are rehabbing a property.
- Trust experience. Talk to other investors, join real estate investment groups — just don’t rely on any sources making get-rich-quick promises.
There are no guarantees when it comes to real estate investing, but sticking with tried-and-true principles beats flying blind. For more tips, see the accompanying infographic.
Author bio: Dalton Sullivan is Associate VP at Precision Global Corporation, a venture capital company. Sullivan has vast knowledge of 1031 exchanges as well as senior housing investing. He has a passion for business development, real estate investing and building lifelong, professional relationships with investors.