Investing in real estate has a number of advantages over other types of investing. For instance, if you buy $100,000 worth of stock in a company and the company goes under you may end up losing your entire investment. While you may end up in a situation where you need to sell an investment property at a loss, you will rarely ever lose your entire investment. Conversely, however, real estate investments also incur ongoing expenses that you have to factor in before making the investment. Unlike a stock or a bond that has a value set by the market, the true value of real estate investments can be much harder to assess. To determine the true value of an investment property the following three key components need to be considered

1. Income potential

Unless you are just purchasing land, most types of real estate investments will have some type of income potential that has to be factored in when considering the value of a property. There are a number of ways to determine income potential depending on the type of property it is. To determine income, you need to determine the capitalization rate. Put simply, the capitalization rate is the projected annual income from the gross rent multiplier divided by the current value of the property.

2. Comparables

One of the most common methods of evaluating real estate investments is to compare the property you are considering investing in with other comparable properties in the area. While there are a number of variables that will affect both the price and income potential of the property you are considering versus other properties, finding properties that are legitimately comparable and accounting for differences can give you a fairly accurate estimate of what you can expect from your property.

3. Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM)

A CAPM is a comprehensive evaluation tool that considers a number of intangible variables such as the safety of the neighborhood and the age of the property and compares it to the expected ROI of other types of investments. For instance, you can expect an older rental property to need more major repairs and you can expect high tenant turnover in less desirable neighborhoods. These will all have an impact on your rental income. If a real estate investment is likely to have a smaller ROI than another investment tool, then it doesn’t make sense to invest in real estate.