It can be very profitable to invest in real estate, and the folks who do their homework tend to fare the best. Before you buy any real estate, you need to make sure that you have armed yourself by doing plenty of research. Begin with the following helpful information.
A fixer-upper may be cheap, but think about how much you have to renovate to bring it up in value. If the property only needs cosmetic upgrades, it may be a good investment. However, major structural problems can very costly to fix. In the long-run, it may not give you a good return on your investment.
Insure all of your properties, even if they are currently vacant. While insurance can get expensive, it will ultimately protect your investment. If something were to go wrong on the land or in a building you own, you will be covered. Also, have a general safety inspection conducted once in a while too, just to be on the safe side.
Look for properties that will be in demand. Really stop and think about what most people will be looking for. Try to find moderately priced properties on quiet streets. Looks for homes with garages and two or three bedrooms. It’s always important to consider what the average person is going to be searching for in a home.
Look for foreclosure opportunities. There are a lot of excellent real estate investment options among foreclosures. They are near always listed well below market price, and some may likely only need minor upgrades and touch-ups. Foreclosure flipping can be a very profitable investment strategy, but do your homework before getting into it!
Be careful not to lose focus during a bidding war. Bidding wars get people emotionally charged up. That can lead to bad mistakes like paying too much for a home or bidding against yourself. Remember, the numbers never lie. Stick to your initial numbers and bow out when the price goes over them.
Don’t jump into real estate investment while you’re still wet behind the ears. Get to know others who are in the business and learn from their experience. Join real estate clubs. Read books and visit websites that offer tips and information on real estate investing. Don’t invest until you really know what you are doing.
If your rental unit is vacant, make sure you can pay the mortgage until you find a tenant. Reserving money for this will assure you that your mortgage will be covered while you wait for someone to rent.
Have an extra exit strategy or two. When it comes time to sell, you might find it takes longer than you would like. By having a back up plan or two, you can keep yourself financially safe so you are able to move forward in your investment property career.
Keep a list of people you can get advice from as things come up. You need to develop a personal network of individuals who can inspect properties, estimate contractor costs and give you expert level advice in areas you don’t know much about yourself.
If you are going to include utilities in the cost of a tenant’s rent, make sure you ask local companies how much they charge for utilities. You need to be able to have a good idea of the renting costs involved. If you don’t, you could be in for a nasty surprise and cut into your profit margin.
Plan for vacancies. Your properties won’t be rented out all of the time. The occasional vacancy is inevitable, and it is important that you plan for them. Make sure that you can get by without the extra income. Have enough set aside to do any repairs that need to be done between tenants.
Set life goals. What do you want during your time on this planet? Once you know what you are trying to achieve, you will be more serious about your investment strategy. Make sure, however, that your goal is not simply to “make a lot of money.” It should be more personal and specific than that.
Before you begin investing, determine whether you are a conservative investor or one who can stomach some risk. Generally speaking, the younger you are, the more investment risk you can assume because you have more time to make up for any losses. But if you find it difficult to deal with the gyrations of the stock market, stick to more conservative investments, regardless of your age.
Always be sure of the time frame that you can expect a return on your money. Long term investments may take longer to see gains but they may also pay off bigger returns for taking that chance. So only invest in something that you have the time and patience to dedicate your money to.
Use the information above to succeed and for future reference. Never rush an investment decision or work from “gut” feelings. Always do the research and you can see that real estate investing is smart business.