If you’re getting geared up to explore the potential of real estate investment, here are the tools you’ll need to succeed.
People get started in real estate investing (REI) for a variety of reasons. Some come to investing from some other area of the real estate profession, like agents who learn about the potential of investment in their local market. Some come to REI as an alternative to traditional investment options like stocks and index funds. Still others are inspired to explore investing because of the many house-flipping shows they see online and on television.
Whatever your reasons for getting into real estate investing, we’re here to offer you a roadmap. After all, with so many expert investors out there, there’s no reason for you to reinvent the wheel. What follows are some of the main things you need to consider as you launch your first project.
The ABC’s of Real Estate Investing
Whether you’re interested in a one-time investment opportunity or you want to make real estate investing a full-time career, you’ll need to lay the groundwork for your first project. While it will take some work and you’ll experience a learning curve, getting started is really as simple as ABC.
Analysis of your chosen market
Choosing your real estate market, then becoming an expert in it, is probably the first and most important decision you’ll make. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think through your options.
- Do you want to choose a market close to where you live so that you can keep a close eye on your investment?
- Have you inherited a property in another area that you’d like to use as the starting point for your REI portfolio?
- Are you living in an overpriced metro market and considering investing in a more affordable secondary market?
- Are you interested in specialty properties in a niche market like a resort area or coastal community?
Once you’ve identified the market you’re interested in, you can begin researching the area to find out which neighborhoods and property types offer maximum return on your investment. If it’s not a local market, you may want to spend some time there getting a boots-on-the-ground perspective to build your expertise.
Buy and Hold or Fix and Flip? Developing a strategy
There are so many ways to get into REI. The choice of your investment strategy can depend on a variety of factors, including your experience level, your budget, your chosen market and even your personality. Some real estate investors focus on one particular investment strategy while others are guided by the properties themselves and pursue a variety of approaches.
Here are some of the most popular REI strategies:
- Fix and Flip or short-term investment is probably the process you are most familiar with. It generally involves finding a below-market-value property then making improvements to it and “flipping” it back onto the market for resale at a profit.
- Buy and Hold or long-term investment involves identifying an undervalued property in livable condition, then making minimal repairs and renting it out to a qualified tenant. The profit here comes from monthly cashflow and from long-term equity-building and appreciation.
- Buy and Hold for short-term rental is a viable investment strategy in many areas because of the popularity of Airbnb and similar platforms. Here, a high-quality property is rented out to vacationers or short-term tenants. This strategy is especially popular in resort areas or those with a large tourism base.
Identifying your market will go a long way toward helping you narrow down your strategy, since different markets may lend themselves to different game plans and profit potential.
Choosing your professional community
Once you’ve determined your market and your investment approach, you’ll want to build a professional team. This may include any of the following:
- A real estate attorney or trusted real estate agent to negotiate deals
- A private financier or mortgage lender to help you finance deals
- A contractor or handyman to help you make needed repairs
- A property manager to help you maintain your property and find tenants for buy and hold properties
- Fellow investors who can direct you to properties that don’t fit their investment strategy but may fit yours.
Remember, you don’t have to go it alone as a new investor. There are a variety of professional colleagues you can connect with who will offer you the expertise and practical experience you need as you are starting out.