A growing number of investors have decided to flee the volatile stock market seeking safety, and they will find this in hard assets like in real estate. Nevertheless, many people wish to stay a passive investor, and they don’t want to knock on doors seeking foreclosures and fixing toilets while working as the landlord. A simple search on Google for passive real estate will equate to people becoming the victim of online advertising in a market property known as turn-key rental properties. But what is a turn-key rental property? And is it truly worth your investment?
Turn-Key: What Does It Mean?
To most investors, turnkey sounds like nothing more than a buzzword, and a lot of people throw it around. Many times, the people who throw it around are the new companies that don’t have a definition of what this means. What’s the standard that defines this word? For the uneducated buyer, you might assume that turnkey properties mean that you don’t have to do anything. Don’t let something that looks too good to be true pull you in. The false belief that someone else will renovate, buy, lease and manage the property while all the other people have to do is deposit the rent check is false.
Some companies will sell a turnkey property that will be fully renovated to what looks like-new condition. You will need a property manager who understands how this works. Some companies only slap on a little paint, calling it turnkey. They have hopes that they will attract buyers from out of state.
How Can Investors Protect Themselves
People have to learn how to disregard the marketing in the message. The marketing is what investors have to stay alert to the most. People don’t want good marketers to manipulate them simply because they understand how psychology works. Beware of messages that say, “This is turnkey, and you won’t have to lift a finger.” In addition, investors should go to see the property before they buy it because of what it looks like in photos might be misleading in person.
What’s the bottom line with these investments? Although a may look like it has a cheap and reasonable price, chances are that there will be more work and time you will have to put in. If investors decide to pursue turn-key rental properties, they should always check to make sure that they will be receiving the best price.
When built-ins and fixtures in a home start looking worn and old, it’s time to update.
Homeowners don’t usually think about making changes that can increase the value of their homes until it is time to sell. Then they may be short on cash or the time to make improvements that can add value. The key is to make gradual changes along the way that will keep a home looking fresh and contemporary. Consider the following ways homeowners can increase the value of their homes.
Keep the outside looking fresh
Nothing grabs attention more than a home with curb appeal. Since the outside of the home is the first impression a buyer will make, the outside should be neat and inviting. Keep shrubs and other vegetation under control with regular trimming. Pressure wash concrete surfaces and siding to keep them looking new. Remove dead flowers and plants. When perennials start to get grassy, it may be time to dig them up, clear out the weeds, and start fresh. Make sure wood trim is painted, and clean the cobwebs from around doors, windows, and light fixtures. Curb appeal is usually a matter of regular maintenance and costs very little.
Consider a kitchen upgrade
An upgrade can make the kitchen a place where the entire family enjoys gathering, but an out-dated kitchen can be depressing and a deal-breaker for a buyer. Swap out tired looking white or black appliances for edgy stainless steel. When today’s homebuyers walk into a kitchen, they expect to see stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. Something as simple as s trendy new backsplash can add pop to an otherwise boring kitchen.
Turn a bathroom into a spa
Not only do homebuyers expect kitchens to wow them–clean bathrooms with that spa vibe are also on many homebuyers’ wish lists. If you can’t put in a new shower, consider adding a rain shower head. Clean the tub and shower until it is sparkling. Replace old sink fixtures and faucets with updated versions. Consider adding a new mirror and get rid of the 1990s vanity strip lights. Replace the wallpaper with a fresh coat of paint in a spa-inspired color.
These are just a few simple, and mostly low-cost changes that a homeowner can make to increase a home’s value. Even when a homeowner is not thinking of selling, updates can make a home feel like a brand new living space.
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.
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.