Building your investments - Property investing

property investing

If you consider property investing, there are certain factors you have to take into account before deciding if it is a sound investment for you.

Post summary:

  • What is property investing?
  • Doing your research
  • Understanding the costs involved
  • 3 options to get into property investment 

Whenever you invest in property, there are certain factors you have to consider before deciding if it is a sound investment. 

Location, market demand, and cost of maintenance and repairs are among other factors to consider when investing in property.

However, investing in renting a property can be more complicated than merely buying to resell later. Becoming a landlord will require a more substantial commitment, especially on a weekly, if not daily, basis. 

But with property prices increasing on an average of 11%, with the growth becoming even faster in light of the pandemic, the lure of returns is too appealing for investors.

Before diving into property investing, here is a summary of what you’ll want to know and understand.

What is property investing?

Property investing, also known as real estate investing (especially in the USA), involves purchasing, owning, managing, renting, and selling properties and real estate for profit. 

It’s purchasing property, whether houses, units, blocks of units, commercial property, offices, or even land. And you’re buying it to make a profit eventually.

Researching the property market

When considering property investing, ensure that you know the market

For instance, you need to know what the property is worth. Find out what other comparable properties are selling for in that area. Call the estate agent companies that handle selling specific properties to inquire how long they have been available on the market at their current price offering. 

That will give you an indicator of market demand for the property itself, which is helpful to decide whether it is a sound investment, plus knowing how much room you might have to negotiate on price.

After obtaining knowledge about property buying, you must research the local rental market. You’ll need to consider similar properties to the one you wish to buy and ask:

  • How much are the local rental prices?
  • What are the current tenants paying (if applicable)?
  • Is there a demand for such a property you wish to buy to rent?
  • What types of tenants are seeking your property type?

If you are considering investing in an apartment complex. In that case, you should contact the current property management company and inquire about the following: 

  • Whether apartments remain vacant, and for how long? 
  • How long does it take to fill a vacancy?
  • The usual length of tenant occupancy.
  • And what are the renters getting (how many bedrooms, bathrooms, amenities, do they pay utilities or does the landlord)?

Investigate other comparable properties in the neighbourhood and check if you can get more information. You’ll then understand what a reasonable rental rate you can expect to charge for guaranteeing you the most optimal tenants (those who pay on time or do not cause much damage to the property). 

Failing to do your research could lead to you charging high rental prices, leading to increased vacancies and evictions. Alternatively, you’ll charge too little and not only undercut your profits but likely attract a less desirable tenant quality.

Understanding all the costs

There is a whole lot of budgeting that goes into property investing. You have to know what you can afford in terms of the mortgage, rates of interest, and the standard costs of buying a property. 

However, you must also factor in ongoing maintenance costs (plus the costs of any initial repairs you may need to make).

For example:

  • cleaning the swimming pool (if applicable), 
  • landscape gardening, 
  • pay for utility costs, 
  • management fees, 
  • security, 
  • other predictable maintenance costs like ‘wear and tear.’

If this sounds too much, consult with other property investors or a consultant who can calculate the projected costs before buying the property.

3 property investment options

Rental properties

Owning rental properties can be an excellent opportunity for property investors with renovation skills or the patience to manage tenants. However, this investment strategy requires substantial capital reserves to finance up-front maintenance costs and to cover vacant months.

For instance, it can become quite tedious managing tenants and their demands. Should the property need more maintenance from wear and tear or damage, this will impact your profits. Plus, you risk not receiving rental income should the property remain empty while you search for tenants.

Once you have regular tenants, you will experience a stable rental income to boost your returns. Property prices generally increase in time, so reward investors with a tidy sum if you wish to sell a decade later.

Property flipping

Property flipping is for investors with significant experience in property valuation and renovation. Property flipping requires upfront capital and the ability to oversee the renovations or manage others as needed personally.

Property flippers are different from buy-and-rent landlords. Property flippers look to profitably sell the undervalued properties they buy in less than six months.

Typically, they will buy properties that have some potential and then add more value by renovating them (adding heating, installing new kitchen and bathroom appliances, and so on). 

A caveat, however. 

Property Flippers who cannot swiftly unload a property may find themselves in trouble if they don’t keep enough uncommitted cash on standby to pay the mortgage for the property over the long term.

For example, during a property market crash, mortgage payments and maintenance costs can drain your capital reserves if you’re holding onto properties you cannot sell. They all need maintenance, and property investors must continue paying the mortgages, leading to crippling losses.

Other property flippers do not rent properties. They merely buy them in areas where gentrification or a current well-to-do neighbourhood and wait for the market to rise. Then, when they deem enough to make a profit, they sell. This strategy requires minor maintenance, but property flippers must have enough cash to ensure they keep up the mortgage payments.

Online property investment platforms

Property investing platforms are for investors who wish to join others in investing in major commercial or residential deals. The investment is made via online real estate P2P platforms or crowdfunding. Like any P2P platform, it requires investing capital, although less than what’s needed, to purchase the properties outright.

Online P2P platforms connect willing property investors searching to finance property development projects with property developers. 

Online property investment platforms do charge management fees. Still, unlike buying a property outright, you can reduce the risk by pooling together with other investors to buy residential and commercial properties. 

P2P property investment platforms also make it easy to start investing in the property market, much like P2P investing per se.

Final thoughts on property investing

Whether property investors use their properties to generate rental income or sell until the perfect selling opportunity arises, it’s possible to build investment income. 

As with any investment, there is potential profit within property investing, whether the overall market is sluggish or booming. Just ensure you calculate the costs associated with buying and flipping properties. 

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