House hunting can be a fun, yet frustrating experience. While it’s exciting to look for a home of your own, you also have to recognize that sellers are trying to put their homes in the best possible light. By recognizing common phrases, you’ll be better equipped to know which homes should be avoided altogether.
“Pride of Ownership Shows”
At first glance, this phrase implies that the owners have taken good care of the property. However, in most cases, it also means little, if anything, has been updated. You can look forward to decades-old tiling, antique appliances, and more than a few rooms that need a remodel.
“In One of the Hottest Neighborhoods”
If you see a descriptive phrase that uses words like “hot” or “up and coming,” be aware that you’re expectations may fall short of the reality. Often, sellers will use these terms to describe neighborhoods that are expected to take a good turn and attract developers. Typically, these neighborhoods will lack nearby amenities and may only show the promise of improvement.
Even if you are an investor, you might want to stay away from properties with this as a headline. It indicates a property in distress most of the time and suggests you will need to make several updates just to make the property welcoming. If you’re looking for a home, this may not be the best choice for you.
“Offered as Is”
This is another one that would be best avoided. Often, “as is” suggests the owner knows there’s a great deal wrong with the property and he’s hoping to pass his problems onto an ambitious buyer. By the time the needed repairs are complete, you may have spent more money than the home is actually worth.
Think condo, but smaller. If you’re on the market for a single-family home, you’re probably looking for something roomy and something with potential for expansion. You’ll find neither in homes that are marketed with this phrase. These are typically very small homes that won’t suit your needs.
This is a deceptive phrase indicating you’ll probably spending a few weeks just getting the yard presentable. The current owner probably hasn’t put much effort into maintaining the “curb appeal” of the home. Of course, if you love the rest of the home and want to spend the money, you can always hire professional landscapers to do the dirty work for you.
These are some common phrases used in real estate marketing. While you should be wary of them, not every one of them is the kiss of death. Be aware that you may be getting more than you expect, but also keep an open mind. You may end up getting that diamond in the ruff.
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.
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.
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.
With more and more people flocking to popular towns and cities, combined with the increase of all things digital, Airbnb is a company that couldn’t have arrived at a better time in the digital age. In fact, there really wasn’t another time where Airbnb could have thrived in the way it does now. And while it has helped countless people make their vacations more affordable, as well as benefit those renting out their own properties, is it possible that this app has also brought some trouble to the real estate market along the way?
Property Owners are Catching On
Property owners are concentrated on buying properties in cities that draw large crowds of tourists. You may be wondering where Airbnb ties into this statement, but this is where it gets interesting. Current property owners and people looking to purchase property to rent out have grown keen to the fact that Airbnb can be a helpful indicator of places that are seeing a booming influx of visitors, which in turn signals to property owners that their city may very well be a hot commodity for all things hipsterdom and tourism
So, what has happened as a result is that many property owners are beginning to raise the prices of their rental properties in an attempt to capitalize on a bustling metropolitan area. Also, current property owners in cities where this is occurring are also optimistic as it provides them with a chance to sell for a much higher price than they bought.
Airbnb rental properties can be money-making machines. If you operate an Airbnb in a sought-after travel destination, you are likely to acquire a continual, large-sum of revenue each year. With this in mind, property owners have opted for renting their spaces out short-term for the whole year as opposed to on a long-term basis (short-term means more money). Now, since long-term rentals are becoming increasingly less available, this has pushed property owners into a heightened sense of competition, which in turn causes prices to go up due to demand.
Airbnb is a great tool for people looking for places to stay while vacationing and for people looking to make some extra profit. But if the invisible hand of Airbnb continues to increase the prices of the housing market, we may be headed for a destination that no one wants. The conversation on how to create and maintain sustainable housing costs while allowing people to continue their ventures on Airbnb is a dialogue that is certainly worth having, both for the tourists, locals, and property owners.
House-flipping has become a trendy and exciting career for many hungry professionals looking to establish themselves in the housing/real estate market. But in an attempt to chase after a truly promising career, far too many people repeat the same mistakes.
To help remedy the recurring problems that come along with house-flipping, below are two all too common pitfalls that seem to perpetually plague real estate moguls longing to turn a passion into a paid project.
What is Flipping?
First, we need to establish what constitutes “house-flipping” in the first place. “Flipping” is a type of real estate strategy in which the buyer purchases a house for the sole purpose of renovating and selling the property. The way that profit is made in this business is by purchasing low and selling high.
For instance, investors who flip properties might buy a property in an especially “hot” market, renovate it, and then sell it at a price that makes sense with its newly added, state-of-the-art upgrades. This is also where the true work comes in, too. House-flipping doesn’t just require smart investment purchases, it also requires home renovation and remodeling skill.
Mistake #1: Poor Time-Management
Renovating and flipping can often be a time-consuming business. Not only do you need to find a property, but you have to have enough time built into your project to account for inspections. After that, of course, you need to play the waiting game that comes along with listing. It takes a lot of confidence in your skill to be patient through this whole process, especially if your goal is to make enough money to at least break even.
Mistake #2: Not Enough Skills
House-flipping isn’t easy, and the competition is certainly present. Many skilled plumbers and carpenters often flip houses as a side project. If you desire to excel in the industry, there’s a lot more to it than buying low, taking a sledgehammer to the bathroom, and listing it on the market. Like it or not, the real money in the house-flipping industry comes from what the professionals call sweat equity. If you’re comfortable (and skilled) with a hammer, hanging drywall, and laying a carpet, then you just may have what it takes to make it in the house-flipping industry.
In the end, patience and hard-work are equally as important as any other skill in the house-flipping industry. If house-flipping is a passion of yours, then going into the industry with research and guidance is imperative. It won’t be easy, but with the dedication needed to accomplish the task at hand, house-flipping and renovation can be a great career full of excitement and fulfillment.