Real Estate Investing 101

Real estate offers a winning investment strategy because you hold a tangible asset. However, real estate investors must take care when buying properties. The right purchase can make you reliable income, while the wrong one can turn into a money pit.

Here is some general advice for entering the real estate investing world:

Determine Your Strategy and Target Market

There are many reasons to invest in a property:

  • You intend to lease it out
  • You intend to hold onto it until appreciates in value as a part of a “portfolio”
  • You intend to “flip” it after making minor improvements in order to turn a relatively quick profit

All of these strategies have positives and negatives. You should be well aware of each one’s limitations before you begin your search for properties.

Additionally, you should have an intended market from whom you can get a return on your investment. Who will rent from you? Who will buy a rejuvenated property in that area? Think about questions like these to get a clearer idea of your intended outcome.

Research the Market

As a rule of thumb, only invest in areas that are predicted to expand and appreciate in value. This maxim holds true if you are renting or selling, and especially if you are holding onto a property.

Diligently research the market price history of the neighborhood and its overall development through the past ten or so years. You should buy property with a forward-looking, long-term attitude to ensure that you will not incur an unexpected loss.

Become Familiar with Laws and Taxes

A few percentage points can make quite a difference in your ability to cut a profit. Learn all the relevant statutes for the area, neighborhood and province you will be investing in.

Be particularly careful if you intend to lease the property. You will have duties and obligations as a landlord, and you should be prepared to meet them without incurring setbacks.

Be Prepared to Accept a Temporary Loss

The one rule of real estate is to always be patient. This market is not something you can rush.

To make sure you can weather any storm, have savings on top of your investment cash. With these reserves in hand you can handle a temporary vacancy or a lingering listing in a worst-case scenario.

Do Not Get Overly Complicated

The more nuance there is to your investment strategy, the more things could go wrong. Avoid purchasing unusual or highly-specified properties. You will likely have a tougher time locating a tenant or a new buyer because of it.

Opt instead for simple, everyday properties — at least until you are familiar with the market. They will offer more predictability and even flexibility should you need to adjust your strategy.

Invest Close to Home

While you may be tempted to scout around the world for the hottest real estate markets, distance adds complexity to investment management. Find properties close to your area when you first start out. You will have better access to networking and recommendations, not to mention you can be there in a snap if something goes haywire.

These tips will help you walk before you can run.