How Real Estate Investments Makes Money

by Dick Stoner 01/26/2020


 Photo by Steve Buissinne via Pixabay

While real estate has ups and downs, it has generally been a good long-term investment. Owning a home is one way of investing, but to really take advantage, you can buy property that you won’t necessarily occupy but will make you some money.

How Real Estate Makes Money

There are two basic ways. You can rent out your property, or you can sell it for more than you paid. The latter usually involves improving the property and then “flipping” it.

Before you start making offers on potential rental or flippable property, think about what you hope to accomplish. Are you going to be a landlord or a flipper? The two require different attitudes and skills. While it’s certainly possible to combine the two – to buy a building to fix up and rent, or to rent something you will eventually sell – most people focus on one or the other.

Getting Started

In either case, it’s wise to start small. You may aspire to own an entire apartment complex and rent to a building full of tenants, but it’s better to start out with a single unit and learn to meet the challenges of being a landlord. One hands-on way is to buy a duplex, live in one half and rent the other. If you’re a flipper, you might want to eventually manage a renovation team restoring houses all over town, but you’re better off to cut your teeth on just one.

If you’re a novice, you’ll want to buy locally, and you’ll need to understand real estate trends in your community. Which neighborhoods are changing for better or for worse? How are prices moving? Does the market favor buyers or sellers? Remember, locals trends can be different from national ones. What percentage of available rentals markets are occupied? If occupation rates are high, it’s easier to find and keep tenants.

You can scour local listings yourself, but you’ll do well to consult a real estate agent who understands the market and local rentals. It’s best to work with a banker and have financing in place before you start.

Be realistic about projecting your revenue and expenses. Renovations often cost more than you’d predict. Rental upkeep can be expensive. Eventually you’ll need to upgrade appliances and replace the roof.

If you’re going to be a landlord, decide how hands-on you can be. Can you make repairs yourself? Are you willing to locate tenants and deal with them on an ongoing basis? If not, hire a property management company to take care of day-to-day management.

Investing at a Distance

You don’t have to buy a property and take on the associated headaches to profit from real estate. A vehicle such as real estate investment trust (REIT) or crowdfunded real estate makes you a part-owner of a large real estate investment. Someone else selects and manages the properties. It’s similar to buying stock. You (and others) provide the money, accept the risk and potentially enjoy the profits.

About the Author
Author

Dick Stoner

Reist Corporation was incorporated in 1994 to renovate and restore commercial, industrial and residential buildings. Working from a 200+ year old farm in Washington County, MD , we have restored barns, warehouses, and even WWII Army buildings in Central MD. We maintain expertise in zoning and land use issues, and we stay abreast of market conditions and changing market statistics. We welcome the opportunity to work with buyers and tenants who wish to take advantage of current market conditions to lock in long term deals at favorable rates. Those able to sign 5 - 10 year leases in commercial transactions right now, are able to obtain the best rates in over 10 years, and those able to purchase are able to get pre-2005 prices on many types of buildings and land. On residential transactions, we continue to help buyers of bank-owned and short sale properties. We welcome the opportunity to work with you on your challenges, and we pay generous referral fees to agents from other areas who wish to utilize our services on Maryland property transactions

Certifications

Since 2002, I have worked on some of the largest real estate database systems in America. I have introduced online marketplace products to areas that were using residential MLS products for commercial real estate information, and I have worked on the expansion of some of America's largest real estate data systems in some of the largest MSA's in the country. Research is key to many commercial real estate valuation projects, and our firms' knowledge about how these systems work can help you reach the best information about other transactions in your area. We are active in Land Preservation programs and environmental offsets which can sometimes bring additional revenue that is crucial to making a transaction work. Nutrient offset credits in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed have become a new component in the valuation of active farmland and for many rural properties which involve environmental features like streams, woodlands, pastureland, etc. We've partnered with the experts at Blueline Conservation Incentives, LLC in Northern Virginia on nutrient offset and land preservation programs and together we are part of a team with expertise in all of the Middle Atlantic States as they strive to meet WIP - Watershed Improvement Plans in order to meet the 2017 and 2025 water quality goals that were set by the 2010 Chesapeake Bay Plan. 

Awards

2009 -MD Historical Trust -Award for Project Excellence in the Restoration of Frieda's Cottage at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville, MD