Real estate investment has changed. House flipping is commonplace. Increased competition makes finding profitable investment properties more challenging.
Rising above the competitions often means turning to technology. There are two main ways that technology can benefit the real estate investor. Technology can help find new opportunities and improve upon the results of current investing techniques.
New Investing Opportunities
The main areas where technology can assist a real estate investor to find a profitable deal are in bidding, optimizing online efforts, and efficient property searches. Each plays a significant role in staying ahead of the competition.
DealMachine is an innovative tool for finding undiscovered properties. It is a simple idea with amazing applications. Investors merely take a picture of a house, then the app provides owner information. DealMachine’s other features include sending the owner information and express a willingness to buy their property. It also automatically follows up to encourage an owner to respond.
Optimized websites benefit real estate ventures. Carrot excels in this area. It also helps find relevant leads for buying and selling properties. HouseCanary is a nice compliment. It provides filters to determine which are the most profitable rental properties and areas within a community.
Improve upon Results
Managing customer relationships, finances, tenants, and cultivating leads all improve results of real estate investing. Most investors do not make the most of cultivating their leads, REIPro provides a tool for managing real estate relationships. It builds trust and nurtures relationships through features designed specifically for investors.
Another piece of software that benefits lead generation is Call Porter. Among its features is personalized phone communication. Overall, Call Porter is a specialty software that aids several aspects of investing like managing appointments and callbacks.
In regard to technical aspects, DealCheck goes a long way toward improving profits. It is a forecasting tool that estimates repair costs. This aids in analyzing properties and actualizing profits. Roofstock is of benefit in this area as well. Its focus is on cash-flow properties. Investors can purchase properties free of the concern of disrupting tenant occupancy. For out of state investors, Roofstock is a blessing.
More competition has indeed entered real estate investing. However, so have some very useful tools. The savvy investor can still rise to the top in profitable deals.
There’s an age-old debate in the real estate market as to whether primary residences should be viewed as investments or simply as a place to live. While this debate is something that every homeowner should carefully consider, it is clear that there are reasons for buying a nice home, no matter the market conditions, other than simply to maximize one’s wealth. After all, everyone needs a roof over their head.
The same cannot be said, however, for professional real estate investors or anyone who is investing in a property that has the main purpose of income generation. These investors need to be much more careful about things like market timing. Real estate cycles can often last even longer than business cycles, meaning that an investor that buys into an overheated market could be waiting decades to realize any returns at all.
Unfortunately, there is currently ample evidence that real estate markets from coast to coast are overbought. While there still may be opportunities for solid long-term returns that can be located by savvy investors, the current trends in real estate prices indicate that there will be a reversion to historic averages in the near-term future. Buying into a market at a peak like the one we’re very likely seeing now can have disastrous consequences for the long-term performance of any real estate portfolio.
One of the key indicators that the real estate market is well above sustainable price levels is the number of hours that the average wage earner needs to work in order to buy the median home. In some cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, the average wage earner would need to work the majority of their waking hours in order to afford minimally decent housing. Contrast that with the norms of the 1960s when many American families only needed a single wage earner to work for 10 hours per week in order to afford the median home.
Another key factor that may bode poorly for the performance of real estate prices over the next five years is the almost certainty that interest rates will soon begin rising. The real estate market is exquisitely sensitive to interest rates, and worst-case-scenario interest hikes could put a big dent in the price gains that housing has seen nationwide since the financial crisis of 2008.
Riding the heels of an especially strong housing market, investors are turning more and more toward real estate as a viable and profitable business venture. One of the hottest segments of the real estate market is the multifamily housing sector. Despite being a longer process when it comes to generating income and profit than its single-family property investment counterparts, the multifamily market can be extremely profitable when executed properly.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, securing financing for a multifamily property can often be easier than getting the money for a single-family property. The reason for this is because there is a much smaller risk of not generating enough cash flow when there are multiple properties involved. What can often be confusing is calculating the value of a multifamily property because of the myriad of complexities involved. In order to calculate an accurate value, the following considerations must all be examined:
OPERATING EXPENSES: This list of expenses can be varied and long. Examples include snow removal, landscaping, pool maintenance, and pest control.
CAPITAL EXPENDITURES: Also known as CapEx, these funds are used by the property management or investor to acquire new assets or upgrade existing facilities with the intention of improving or increasing the breadth of the operation. Examples of capital expenditures in multifamily properties include new air conditioning units, roofing replacements, playground additions, water heaters, and more. Property managers will want to set aside larger amounts for annual capital expenditures if the property is older since repairs and upgrades will be more likely. Newer properties will not require as much capital expenditure investment, which will make these more attractive to investors.
NET OPERATING INCOME: This definition is self-explanatory. Net operating income is simply the total income generated from the multifamily property after the total operating expenses have been subtracted.
CAP RATE: This calculation is a little more specific. It refers to the exact rate of return from the property after income is considered. These rates are distinct to a certain market and drawn by the kind of property class of the investment. To calculate multifamily value, the net operating income of the property is divided by the cap rate. This is why knowing the cap rate is imperative to understanding the overall value.
While many people get involved in real estate investing, they don’t all take the same path to success. There are several ways that you can get started and that which may not work for your colleagues may work much better for your circumstances. The most popular strategies for investing in real estate are fixing and flipping, wholesaling, creative real estate investing, and buy and hold.
Fix and Flip
This is the most commonly known of the popular types of real estate investing, particularly because it’s something that can be done relatively quickly. It involves buying a property at a low price, repairing and updating the home, and selling it for significantly more. This requires selling the property at a price that will help you recoup the original investment, the money you spent on renovations and repairs, and still provide a tidy profit.
This is the practice of making a profit by finding real estate deals for investors. In wholesaling, the individual gains a profit by selling the property for a higher price to the investor than paid in the contract with the original seller. While this is similar to flipping houses, there are no repairs that need to be made. In this way, it’s a faster and less costly method of investing in real estate.
Creative Real Estate Investing
This is a much riskier way of investing in real estate, but it can be lucrative with enough knowledge of the market. It involves buying properties without traditional bank loans and without having to provide big down payments. One common way this is done is in buying a depleted property with cash and selling it to another investor at a profit.
Buy and Hold
This involves buying a property, possibly renovating it, and holding onto it for an extended period of time. By renting out the property, you can turn the property into a stable source of income. However, this practice requires intimate knowledge of the market and an ability to predict trends, or you may end up with a property that won’t attract tenants. A vacant property will end up costing you money.
These are four unique and very different investment methods and there’s no rule that says you can’t adopt several of them. You may combine a couple methods to develop your own strategy. As is true with any type of investing practice, you will have to find the method that works best for you.
“In this current climate” is a cliché lately – but it is a valid cliché. However, in this current climate, some people might just not be able to afford a house. Or conversely, a homeowner finds that the value of their home is at an all-time high and wants to cash in. There are plenty of reasons why renting is a beneficial option for buying, especially in certain markets.
- Renting allows for major life flexibility. In major markets, younger people are renting over buying, and this seems to be an extremely popular choice. Due to unsustainable raises in the housing market buying a house may not be an option, therefore renting is the best option. By renting, renters allow themselves the greatest flexibility if a good opportunity presents itself, or if they are not happy with their current situation, or if they want to move to another place quickly. Renting keeps the lease down to one of two years, allowing for life improvements and possible pivots in the future.
- Renting does not lock your life down into debt for 30 years. If not subscribing to the typical white picket fence dream, the prospect of facing paying a mortgage for 30 years may not be the best life choice. The stress of having to maintain a payment for so long locks people down into lifestyle choices – possibly a job they may not like, or circumstances they may change, or unforeseen debts that may occur. There are also studies that show a person having a debt hanging over their heads is clearly detrimental to life.
- Investing instead of paying may lead to bigger monetary gain. The math seems to be there. There are some bets unconsciously made when buying – the result of investments, the real estate market prices (after all, the recession did a number on many people), the pace of inflation, property taxes, paying interest. These calculations have renters winning out in the long run, however, the numbers may be variable.
No matter how many facts and numbers are thrown around, it is ultimately down to the individual needs and desires of the person making the choice. Behavior is behavior, and people tend to seek out facts that support what they feel. Good luck!
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.
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.
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.