According to a recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, as many as 89 percent of U.S. investors would strongly consider pursuing real estate as part of a broader investment strategy.
The same study, which was also cited by the National Mortgage Professional’s Magazine, goes on to reveal an even higher percentage of millennial investors — 96% — expressed interest in purchasing real estate for investment purposes. So I thought it would be nice to investigate these claims to find out why this does or does not represent sound strategy.
There are a myriad of reasons to invest in real estate. Likewise, there must be plenty of reasons not to invest. Let’s take a look.
Real Estate Investing: The Pros
- The timing may be ripe. Given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming elections, many investment managers are predicting a volatile stock market; this is regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, this January.
- Hefty Earnings potential. When you reach the level of competence necessary to complete a deal on your own without making mistakes your earnings potential will soar.
- You call the shots. As a real estate investor, you’re ultimately accountable to you and your checkbook. Of course, you will need to stay on top of your local coding regulations and ordinances. But once you get the hang of it, you really shouldn’t have any problems with ordinances.
- Nurture your inner builder. Getting into the residential investment business entails lots of renovation work. As such, you can certainly expect to play with your fair share of power tools. Of course, if your favorite pastime is catching re-runs of ‘This Old House’, you probably already love using these tools. Perhaps this explains why so many contractors wind up investing in real estate.
- A ‘hands on’ investment. Real estate investing is unique in that it’s almost as much a career or a way of life as it is a form of investing. Indeed, the fact that real estate is involves so much sweat equity makes it unique among other investments.
That notwithstanding, the hands-on aspect of buying and rehabbing homes is also why you’ll face less competition from investors than you might expect in stocks or bonds.
Real Estate Investing: The Cons
- Substantial risk involved. The business side of real estate investing is fraught with risk. Unlike purchasing mutual funds or savings bonds, with real estate you can lose money; this is one of the reasons that seasoned real estate investors caution neophytes never to get too emotional about a property and always be willing to walk away.
- You could pay dearly for your mistakes. Another thing that’s so different about real estate is that you pay dearly for your errors in this field. For example, if you sign a deal only to realize afterward that the numbers don’t add up – walking away is not always an option.
- Requires a significant investment. Don’t let the late night infomercials fool you. It takes serious resources to pull off a successful real estate deal from start to finish. Hence, it’s important that you have a plan and stick to it, going into every investment.
- Demands a well-defined skill set. For anyone used to going into the office every day and ‘punching the clock’, real estate can be a daunting field. Namely, because it requires the investor to become proficient in activities that you may not be accustomed to doing on a daily basis.
So these are the pluses and minuses. As prohibitive as the potential drawbacks might be, real estate still has the potential to offer substantial dividends – both in the form of financial rewards and in the satisfaction that comes from building something with your hands.
Hence, if you’re willing to learn the ropes and put in the effort, you should find your goals very attainable.
Should You Decide to Take the Plunge Know This
- If you do choose to invest in real estate, don’t go in blind. Prepare a road map first. Determine what it will take to accomplish your goals for each property beforehand; this includes finances, materials, personnel planning, etc. Upon completing your plan be sure to meet with the concerned parties.
- Always expect the unexpected. When meeting with sellers, buyers or investors be sure to expect the best but plan for the worse. There’s always the potential that the deal may fall through. Doing so will help put all other parties at ease while preventing you from getting too emotionally invested.
- Find a good CPA and attorney. While you may already be familiar with accounting and various legalities, it helps to have a professional on speed dial in case a problem that you aren’t familiar with crops up.
It’s important to point out that I’m not here to advise you one way or another, as it relates to whether to invest in real estate or not. My job is to bring you the facts and let you decide what to do with them. That said, now that we’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investing, what do you think?