How Technology Has Solved Two of the Biggest Problems in Real Estate Investing

How Technology Has Solved Two of the Biggest Problems in Real Estate Investing

If you want to be a better real estate investor, you have to overcome common challenges. The two biggest problems that real estate investors face is finding the property and then actually getting the funding to acquire it. However, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it used to be. Here is how technology is changing the way people solve these issues:

Properties

Finding properties is one of the biggest challenges that investors face. After all, the market value of an area is not set it stone. In order to understand if something will pay you back, you need to know the area.

Location Scouting

You can now know about an area and what kind of demographics it has easier than before. First of all, with online maps, you can scout it on your laptop. Secondly, people on the ground can be hired to walk around and film with a drone to capture video so you can really get the feel for the location.

Sales Trends

You can look into the local economies of locations that you are considering. See how their local businesses have been doing in recent months with sales. In addition, find out the employment rates to make sure there is an economy that is healthy enough to support the investment you are looking to make before just jumping in without the information.

Funding

The Need for Capital

You might have the best information in the world, but you still need funding to get that property. Therefore, raising capital has always been a burden to investors. Thanks to technology, there are new options, however.

Crowdfunding

Using public sites you can raise funds from investors, large and small, all around the world. This lets you act quickly on properties without breaking the bank. In addition, you might find properties that you didn’t otherwise think you could afford.

When it comes to real estate investing, it can be one of the most lucrative opportunities in the world. However, to make money with real estate, you need to find the property first. Then, you need to get the funding to purchase it. Technology has made these two things much easier than they ever were in the past. Therefore, you should look to utilize this technology in your own career to leverage the benefits contained.

The Power of Leverage in Real Estate

The Power of Leverage in Real Estate

While many people are rightly skeptical of going into debt, experienced real estate investors know that the judicious use of leverage can dramatically boost their bottom line. Leverage is used by real estate investors to boost what is known as their internal rate of return. This is simply a reflection of the fact that the less capital one has invested, the higher their potential return on invested capital is.

How does leverage increase returns?

If a new real estate investor had $50,000 to put towards the purchase of a property, they would have a number of options on how to best invest that money, starting with whether or not they wanted to use mortgage financing or pay cash. Some people may opt for the latter option, deciding that the risk of taking on mortgage payments is beyond their tolerance levels.

However, for the astute investor, using mortgage financing can provide a much higher rate of return. In the case of buying a property for $50,000 in cash, if that property nets $5,000 per year of income, then the total rate of return on capital for the property will be 10 percent. However, if that same $50,000 is used on a down payment to buy a $200,000 property with the same 10 percent return on the purchase price, the return on capital for the second deal will be 40 percent! This is because the investor is earning $20,000 per year of income but has only invested $50,000 of their own capital.

It is important to understand that leverage works best, by far, when rents and property values are rising. Using leverage can still work in other markets, but investors need to have sufficient liquidity to cover downturns, such as high vacancy rates or declining overall property values. Generally speaking, investors should stay away from using leverage in markets with a negative macroeconomic outlook for the short to medium term. While these investments can still prove to be highly profitable over the long term, the short-term capital requirements can bankrupt smaller investors.

The best way to mitigate the risks of using leverage is to perform in-depth due diligence on the local macroeconomic trends. Study trends in property values, employment quality, and quantity and net migration trends. Try to avoid entering into leveraged real estate deals near market peaks.

4 Ways Landlords Can Improve Their Relationships With Their Tenants

4 Ways Landlords Can Improve Their Relationships With Their Tenants

4 Ways Landlords Can Improve Their Relationships With Their Tenants

Investing in a rental property can offer many benefits. Not only can it help provide a steady monthly income, but it can help build your net worth. However, by investing your time with rental properties, as a landlord, you will have to maintain it, and make it attractive for tenants, and find renters who can be trusted.

Often the relationship between landlord and tenant is poor and strained. Talk to any landlord and they are bound to share a tenant horror story or two about an unruly renter. By establishing a more professional and positive relationship with your tenant, you’ll find that you will have less tenant horror stories to share. The following are four ways that landlords can improve their relationships with their tenants.

Be Approachable

Often, tenants are afraid to contact their landlord about issues they are experiencing. Sometimes tenants don’t tell their landlords about repairs until the problem worsens or is out of control. Tenants are afraid of asking for help because they don’t want to bother the landlord or are afraid. Landlords should be both supportive and approachable to ensure that their tenants feel comfortable calling in their time of need.

Be An Effective Communicator

A good line of communication is essential to solving many rental problems. Tenants should have an understanding of why something is happening and be given proper notice for anything that may be disruptive. By landlords providing the most up-to-date information, the tenant will be more willing to work with the landlord rather than against.

Be Hands On

When you lease your property, you must be hands on. Often landlords will want to have rent out their property but make little repairs to the home. You should help your tenant feel important by going out of the way to make improvements. Not only will this make your tenants happy, but it will keep your resale value high.

Be Considerate

One of the most important things that any landlord can remember is that tenants are people too. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that your tenants are people with feelings and not just a monthly profit. As a landlord, you have a direct impact on the social and emotional environment for other people. That being said, treat your tenants with the same support and respect that you would want.

How to Invest in Real Estate and Keep a Full Time Job

How to Invest in Real Estate and Keep a Full Time Job

Real estate is one of the most attractive investments among those seeking to invest. It is one of the few products that frequently appreciates in value as opposed to depreciating. One of the biggest issues to be an active real estate investor, however, is that it can be time-consuming. Many real estate investors have full-time jobs that keep them from being on call around the clock to address concerns. That is why the following list of three ways to invest in real estate and hold down a full-time job at the same time has been created. The suggestions are, in no particular order, as follows:

  • Proper Tenant Screening
  • Utilizing Automation
  • Considering REIT’s

 

Proper Tenant Screening

Choosing the wrong tenants can be a nightmare. Rent always seems to be late and property owners are shelling out above average amounts of cash to fix appliances that keep breaking. To avoid this, be sure to properly vet tenants in a rental property. This way, the risk of not receiving payments in a timely fashion are minimized and someone who will respect the real estate is occupying it. Doing the legwork up front can save thousands of dollars in real estate investing costs down the road.

Utilizing Automation

With modern advances in technology, it is easier than ever to automate so many different aspects of a real estate investment. Billing can now be done without ever lifting a finger. A bill reminder will automatically be sent to the renters of a property. Payments can then automatically be deposited into the owner’s account. Because owners also often take care of other aspects like the electric and water bills, these processes can be taken care of through automation as well as saving both time and resources.

Considering REIT’s

Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REIT’s, are a great way to invest in real estate without actually having to manage a physical property. REIT’s trade just like stocks and the amount of money an investor puts in is their share of the total property ownership of the REIT. REIT’s are required by law to distribute dividends which take the place of more traditional rent. The returns may not be quite as high as owning a physical property, but it is a great way to enter the space without a huge time commitment.

 

Alternative Ways To Invest In Real Estate

Alternative Ways To Invest In Real Estate

Real estate investing offers a great way to grow your savings and build wealth. While many people want to get involved in this possibly lucrative venture, the responsibilities that go along with owning property may be keeping them from acting on their interests. However, there are many options for investing in real estate that don’t include becoming a landlord.

Buy Real Estate ETFs

As mentioned in a previous post, an ETF is an exchange-traded fund that’s comparable to mutual funds in that they consist of stocks relating to a particular theme. However, unlike mutual funds, an ETF is traded publicly on the exchange. Vanguard’s VNQ is one such real estate themed ETF. This fund invests in REITs, or real estate investment trusts, which focus on stocks concerning commercial real estate, such as office buildings, hotels, and similar buildings.

Real Estate Mutual Funds

A more traditional route may be to invest in real estate mutual funds, which provide the possibility of growth without the high risk. DFREX is a favorite in this category, partly because it offers lower fees than other funds. Additionally, DFREX consistently performs well. The fund shows great promise for future gains, because it’s supported by decades of professionally driven research. Nobel Prize winners help to develop the fund’s strategy.

Invest Directly in REITs

This is another option for investing in real estate without taking actual ownership of any property. REITs are like funds in that they stick to a general theme, such as commercial real estate, so you can opt for whichever category appeals to you the most. If you choose to explore this option, do so with caution. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently issued warnings against REITs that aren’t publicly traded. The agency highlighted a lack of liquidity, lack of value transparency, and high fees as factors that create unnecessarily high risk.

Invest with Commercial Real Estate Developers

These can be hotel corporations, resort or timeshare operators, or commercial contractors. By buying stock in these types of organizations, you can benefit from their growth without having the responsibility of buying property yourself. You will have to thoroughly research each company to ensure you’re making a sound investment, but, otherwise, this can be a promising alternative.

These are just a few ways you can invest in real estate without getting your hands dirty. Most people live lives that are too busy to add maintaining a rental property to their schedule, so these options let you reap the benefits of real estate investing more freely. As your money grows, you may find more opportunities for investing in real estate centric funds, stocks, and companies.

 

How Real Estate Investors Make Money

How Real Estate Investors Make Money

Introduction

There are two ways investors make money in real estate: renting and selling for profit. Of course, the savvy investor can use both methods, even on the same property. Here we will go over some details of each method.

It should be emphasized that whether renting out a property or selling for raw profit, the importance of location can’t be overemphasized. The fact is that nearly any model of residential or commercial building can be replicated in many locations. However, the local amenities, culture, atmosphere, weather, or historical value cannot be duplicated. It is such factors that give rise to widely different prices and rents for otherwise identical structures.

Cash Flow: Rent

When renting, the first priority is attracting and retaining tenants. Generally, home-like rental properties or long-term commercial leases are a better option than short-term rentals that, admittedly, fetch a comparatively higher monthly rental. This is because vacancies take their toll and are bad for cash flow. Make sure to specify clear lines of responsibilities for tenants and the property owner. Maintenance, repairs, utilities and tax responsibilities accrue as costs to the property owner, so make sure that rental cash flow at least matches maintenance and other necessary expenditures.

Fix and Flip

Buying low and selling high is the holy script of investing. When buying real estate, beware that the purchase price essentially traps liquidity upon sale completion and for as long as it takes to renovate and resell the house. Also consider the opportunity cost of other income-producing activities, including renting, that the property owner could be doing. Such opportunity costs can add up, but if the buyer were to completely outsource the “fix” to others, the added cost would reduce or even eliminate the profit margin upon resale.

Summary

Note that both methods of making money from real estate entail unexpected costs along the way. Vacancies, irresponsible and toxic tenants, as well as competing units can take the steam out of anticipated cash flow from rental properties. Costly repairs, illiquid funds, and all-in marketing and resale costs can deflate profit margin from fix-and-flip properties. Consider the time and expertise required for each investment method and pick whatever works best. Real estate can be lucrative, but is not risk-free.