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Different Types of Real Estate Investments You Can Make

Real estate is one of the oldest and most popular asset classes.  Most new investors in real estate know that, but what they don’t know is how many different types of real estate investments exist.  It goes without saying that each type of real estate investment has its own potential benefits and pitfalls, including unique quirks in cash flow cycles, lending traditions, and standards of what is considered appropriate or normal, so you’ll want to study them well before you start adding them to your portfolio.

As you uncover these different types of real estate investments and learn more about them, it isn’t unusual to see someone build a fortune by learning to specialize in a particular niche.

If you decide this is an area in which you might want to devote significant time, effort, and resources to in your own quest for financial independence and passive income, I’d like to walk you through some of the different kinds of real estate investing so you can get a general lay of the land.

Before We Talk About Real Estate Investments

Before we dive into the different types of real estate investments that may be available to you, I need to take a moment to explain that you should almost never buy investment real estate directly in your own name. There is a myriad of reasons, some having to do with personal asset protection.  If something goes wrong and you find yourself facing something unthinkable like a lawsuit settlement that exceeds your insurance coverage, you and your advisors need the ability to put the entity that holds the real estate into bankruptcy, so you have a chance to walk away to fight another day.

 A major tool in structuring your affairs correctly involves the choice of legal entity.  Virtually all experienced real estate investors use a special legal structure known as a Limited Liability Company, or LLC for short, or a Limited Partnership, or LP for short.  You should seriously speak with your attorney and accountant about doing the same.

 It can save you unspeakable financial hardship down the road.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

These special legal structures can be set up for only a few hundred dollars, or if you use a reputable attorney in a decent sized city, a few thousand dollars. The paperwork filing requirements aren’t overwhelming, and you could use a different LLC for each real estate investment you owned. This technique is called “asset separation” because, again, it helps protect you and your holdings.  If one of your properties gets into trouble, you may be able to put it into bankruptcy without hurting the others (as long as you didn’t sign an agreement to the contrary, such as a promissory note that cross-collateralized your liabilities).

With that out of the way, let’s get into the heart of this article and focus on the different types of real estate.

From Apartment Buildings to Storage Units, You Can Find the Type of Real Estate Project That Appeals to Your Personality and Resources

If you’re intent on developing, acquiring, or owning, or flipping real estate, you can better come to an understanding of the peculiarities of what you’re facing by dividing real estate into several categories.

  • Residential real estate investments are properties such as houses, apartment buildings, townhouses, and vacation houses where a person or family pays you to live in the property. The length of their stay is based upon the rental agreement, or the agreement they sign with you, known as the lease agreement.  Most residential leases are on a twelve-month basis in the United States.
  • Commercial real estate investments consist mostly of things like office buildings and skyscrapers.  If you were to take some of your savings and construct a small building with individual offices, you could lease them out to companies and small business owners, who would pay you rent to use the property.  It isn’t unusual for commercial real estate to involve multi-year leases.  This can lead to greater stability in cash flow, and even protect the owner when rental rates decline, but if the market heats up and rental rates increase substantially over a short period of time, it may not be possible to participate as the office building is locked into the old agreements.
  • Industrial real estate investments can consist of everything from industrial warehouses leased to firms as distribution centers over long-term agreements to storage units, car washes and other special purposes real estate that generates sales from customers who temporarily use the facility. Industrial real estate investments often have significant fee and service revenue streams, such as adding coin-operated vacuum cleaners at a car wash, to increase the return on investment for the owner.
  • Retail real estate investments consist of shopping malls, strip malls, and other retail storefronts. In some cases, the landlord also receives a percentage of sales generated by the tenant store in addition to a base rent to incentivize them to keep the property in top-notch condition.
  • Mixed-use real estate investments are those that combine any of the above categories into a single project. I know of an investor in California who took several million dollars in savings and found a mid-size town in the Midwest. He approached a bank for financing and built a mixed-use three-story office building surrounded by retail shops. The bank, which lent him the money, took out a lease on the ground floor, generating significant rental income for the owner. The the other floors were leased to a health insurance company and other businesses. The surrounding shops were quickly leased by a Panera Bread, a membership gym, a quick service restaurant, an upscale retail shop, a virtual golf range, and a hair salon. Mixed-use real estate investments are popular for those with significant assets because they have a degree of built-in diversification, which is important for controlling risk.
  • Beyond this, there are other ways to invest in real estate if you don’t want actually to deal with the properties yourself.  Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are particularly popular in the investment community.  When you invest through a REIT, you are buying shares of a corporation that owns real estate properties and distributes practically all of its income as dividends.  Of course, you have to deal with some tax complexity – your dividends aren’t eligible for the low tax rates you can get on common stocks – but, all in all, they can be a good addition to the right investor’s portfolio if purchased at the right valuation and with a sufficient margin of safety.  You can even find a REIT to match your particular desired industry; e.g., if you want to own hotels, you can invest in hotel REITs.
  • You can also get into more esoteric areas, such a tax lien certificates.  Technically, lending money for real estate is also considered real estate investing, but I think it is more appropriate to consider this as a fixed income investment, just like a bond, because you generating your investment return by lending money in exchange for interest income.  You have no underlying stake in the appreciation or profitability of a property beyond that interest income and the return of your principal.
  • Likewise, buying a piece of real estate or a building and then leasing it back to a tenant, such as a restaurant, is more akin to fixed income investing rather than a true real estate investment. You are essentially financing a property, although this somewhat straddles the fence of the two because you will eventually get the property back and presumably the appreciation belongs to you.

Post found on www.thebalance.com

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There’s No Better Time to Be a Real Estate Investor

Real estate investors may have never had it so good. A classic alternative investment in a volatile stock market, real estate also just got a boost from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with landlords among the biggest winners.

The law’s new provisions especially favor rental properties. “Real estate investors have historically been given preferential treatment by the tax code,” says Nick Sher, founder of New York-based Sher & Associates. “All things being equal, 2018 tax reform only enhanced that preferential treatment.”

And there’s no shortage of tenants. “Real estate is a strong long-term investment because people will always need housing,” says Ryan Coon, CEO of Rentalutions, a Chicago-based company that provides online tools for landlords. “While the housing boom and bust of a decade ago hurt a lot of overleveraged buyers, we’re facing a housing shortage right now, and that scarcity could mean higher rents.”

Other tax changes that have created disincentives for home ownership could push more consumers into the rental market. New limits on deductions for mortgage interest and state and local property taxes mean there’s less of a tax advantage to owning a home, Coon says. The higher standard deduction may also have a chilling effect on a taxpayers’ ability to benefit from itemizing and deducting mortgage interest.

If you’re considering wading into the rental property investing waters, here’s what the changes mean from a tax perspective.

Pass-through entities get a tax break. One of the most significant provisions of the tax bill affecting real estate investors is the 199A pass-through deduction. This allows residential landlords who operate as pass-through entities to deduct 20 percent of net rental income right off the top. “The new deduction will allow many individuals at the highest tax brackets to effectively reduce their tax rate from 37 percent to 29.6 percent,” says Chris Pegg, senior director of wealth planning for Wells Fargo Private Bank in San Diego.

But there are some exceptions for who can claim this deduction. “New qualified business income rules do not permit the full deduction for high-income specified service businesses, which includes lawyers, accountants, doctors, consultants and financial advisors,” says George Clough, senior vice president for People’s United Wealth Management in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Claiming the full deduction also depends on income. For pass-through entities to qualify, total annual income must be less than $157,500 for single filers and $315,000 for those who are married and file jointly.

Rental property investors should also keep in mind that the 20 percent deduction of rental income is capped by whichever is greater: 50 percent of wages or 25 percent of wages plus 2.5 percent of the unadjusted basis of qualified property held by the business, says Rob Crigler, managing partner at Mariner Wealth Advisors in Madison, New Jersey. Qualified property is any rental property you own that’s subject to depreciation, and the unadjusted basis is the property’s original cost, without depreciation.

For an idea of how much the pass-through deduction could be worth to a rental property investor, he says to assume you own a 10-unit apartment building through a limited liability company, with no employee wages. The building was constructed in 2012, with land costing $100,000 and the building costing $800,000. In 2018, your LLC has a taxable profit of $300,000. In that case, Crigler says, the potential 20 percent pass-through deduction is $60,000 or 20 percent of $300,000; however, it’s limited to 2.5 percent of the $800,000 building or $20,000.

Anthony Glomski, principal and founder of AG Asset Advisory in Los Angeles, says investors just entering the rental property arena should fully understand the tax implications of the deduction. “Each person’s situation is going to be different,” he says. “For example, fully depreciated property may not qualify for the deduction, but a simple fix may be exchanging into another property with a higher basis.” Your financial advisor or accountant can help with determining whether you qualify for the deduction.

New Section 179 rules yield additional tax savings. The tax bill preserves and expands some existing tax benefits for rental property owners, including the Section 179 deduction. It allows business owners to deduct the cost of qualifying equipment or software purchased or financed in that tax year.

Beginning in 2018, the deduction is extended to rental property business owners, allowing them to deduct the cost of personal property, such as appliances or furniture used in rental units. The deduction has also been expanded to include investments in certain improvements, such as a new roof, an upgraded heating and air system or new fire protections and security systems.

“By having a firm grasp of Section 179, investors can realize some meaningful reductions to taxable income,” says Scott Bennett, a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Real Estate Asset Management in New York. “It’s important to be familiar with what assets and improvements qualify for the depreciation allowance to take full advantage of the change.”

In addition to widening the scope of deductible expenses, the tax bill also raises the Section 179 deduction limit from $500,000 to $1 million, with a phaseout limit of $2.5 million. This represents the amount you can spend on rental property assets or improvements before the deduction begins to be reduced on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

Additionally, the new 100 percent bonus depreciation allowance lets landlords deduct the entire personal property for rental units, instead of the previous limitation of $2,500 or less, says Nina O’Neal, partner at Archer Investment Management in Raleigh, North Carolina. “That certainly makes upgrading or replacing kitchen appliances to attract new tenants more appealing.”

Don’t overlook the downsides. Tax breaks are a great reason to consider owning rental property, but that doesn’t make it right for every investor. “It all sounds great in theory – steady rental income, tax benefits and ideally a gain on the property when you sell,” says Matt Archer, founder of Archer Investment Management. But finding tenants, resolving tenant issues and handling property maintenance and repairs are time-consuming. You can hire a property management company to do the legwork, but “that will decrease your net monthly income.”

Keep in mind also that these tax breaks won’t last forever. The pass-through deduction ends Jan. 1, 2026, and the 100 percent bonus depreciation deduction only lasts through 2022. Before adding rental property to your portfolio, consider whether the investment can still meet your goals and objectives after these tax benefits expire.

Post found on http://www.money.usnews.com

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Investing in Real Estate

Owning real property is a goal for many investors. When done properly, investing in real estate can offer a number of benefits for individuals including the ability to diversify income streams and capture long-term capital appreciation. However, there are a number of ways investors get it wrong when it comes to real estate and the costs can be quite significant.

 

As you consider whether investing in real property is right for you, keep these key considerations in mind.

 

Do: Consider real estate as a diversification tool. One of the benefits of owning real property in addition to traditional investments like stocks and bonds is the diversification it can provide to your income and asset holdings. Having multiple sources of income helps reduce the impact on your finances, should one stream dry up. The real estate market isn’t directly correlated with the stock market either, so holding both types of assets can be a good thing.

Keep in mind that real estate can only help diversify your assets if it’s a component of your net worth – not a big piece of it. Also, consider location as part of your diversification strategy as physical location is a main driver of a property’s relative value. It is important to be familiar with the local market, but don’t overlook the added risk if your own home is in the same community. Of course being a long-distance landlord carries a different set of risks, so try to find a balance.

Don’t: Over-concentrate in one asset class. Just as real estate can provide diversification, it can just as easily concentrate your holdings in one volatile asset class. Investors just starting out may have a higher risk of real estate concentration risk as the property may represent a much larger piece of their overall net worth. Why may this be a bad thing? The real estate market can be volatile and while you can control how the property is maintained, the majority of factors that drive local and national markets are outside of your control. These factors can range considerably. Consider the impact of a major employer moving in (or out) of a community, changes in interest rates, sharp increase to property taxes, and changes to the public services offered in a community.

Do: Consider an investment property if your cash flows are already strong. Real estate can be quite cash-intensive so if you’re holding too much excess cash and find yourself with a large surplus each month, an investment property can be one way to put those funds to work for you. Real estate is unique in that it requires a lot of cash upfront (down payments greater than 20 percent are common) and ongoing cash reserves to maintain and cover for ordinary expenses, but the investment self is highly illiquid. Unlike a traditional investment where you can sell off some of your stocks as needed to raise a lump sum, you cannot sell a room in your property. Unexpected repairs, prolonged vacancies, or past-due tenants can lead to financial problems if cash reserves are light.

 

Don’t: Rush through your cash flow projections. As any professional real estate investor would tell you, the numbers have to work. Particularly when investing in a buy-and-hold property, your cash flow assumptions must be solid to help ensure you’re making a good investment. Do extensive research to obtain accurate income and expense figures and consider building out a model to tie it all together. A standard model should include provisions such as the cost of capital, expected vacancy rate, taxes, and a discount rate, which is essentially your required rate of return on the investment.

Cash flow modeling is a critical step before making a purchase, as real estate investing carries more risk than traditional investments. Not only is real estate illiquid, but it can actually have a negative value (being “underwater” for example) whereas with stocks, you can’t lose more than your investment.

 

Finally, consider scenario analysis as part of your cash flow projections. What if you were to invest cash in the market instead of buy property? What tax benefits may you sacrifice by renting your former primary residence instead of selling it? Depending on your specific goals, real estate may or may not be the best way to get there, and cash flow modeling can help you figure that out.

 

Do: Talk to someone who already owns an investment property. One of the best ways to educate yourself is to speak with someone who’s already faced the same challenges. New real estate investors are often surprised how much work being a landlord can be. It isn’t as easy as it looks on HGTV!

 

Hiring a property manager is an option, but will impact your cash flows. As a landlord, you’ll also need to ensure compliance with the numerous local and federal laws. Some states, such as Massachusetts have very strong tenant rights laws. Landlords may expose themselves to financial and legal risks if they don’t comply with housing discrimination laws, proper escrow procedures, building codes, and so on.

 

Investing in real estate is attractive to many individuals who like the idea of having a tangible asset with passive income potential. However, it is important to objectively assess the opportunity and be realistic about your potential net income after taxes. As an individual investor, it can be challenging to find properties with sufficient cash flow potential to justify the risk and opportunity cost, especially as there are many professionals with a whole infrastructure behind them that are trying to do the same thing.

Why You Need A Professional On Your Team When Buying A Home

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream homes or if they should first try to go through the buying process on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide If You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with landmines; you need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and is ready for you to move into can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in order to secure your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating his or her commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

Post courtesy of keepingcurrentmatters.com

 

6 Amazing Tips on Turning Real Estate Into a Real Fortune

At least 30 U.S. billionaires made their money from real estate; some say that it’s the greatest way to create real wealth and financial freedom.

These six tycoons and members of The Oracles suggest how you can invest $100,000 or start with nothing.

1. Start small.

Although I’m a businessman first, I’ve always been a part-time real-estate investor. You can do both, too. Have a business or career that creates positive cash flow, which you can diversify into part-time real estate investing. I’ve done it for many years.

If you’ve never invested in real estate, start small and don’t use all your money. No one’s ever looked back and said, “My first deal was my best.” You’ve got to learn how to read the contracts, build your network of specialists—for example, lawyers and realtors—and develop a good eye for it. This only comes from experience.

The beauty of real estate is that you can learn the ropes while starting small: find some cheap properties, like single-family homes, renovate-and-flips, multi units, or commercial properties. Try to commit as little as possible while you get some notches under your belt. Joel Salatin, my mentor, always said, “Make your mistakes as small as possible without catastrophic consequences.”

If you have zero cash, maybe do wholesale deals. A business partner, Cole Hatter, and I created a real-estate program teaching you how to put a property under contract for very little money down, sometimes less than $1,000; you sell that contract to another buyer before the contract expires. Worst case: you just lose under a grand. Best case: you make $5,000-15,000 positive cash flow that can be reinvested in long-term holdings. Tai Lopez, investor and advisor to many multimillion-dollar businesses, who has built an eight-figure online empire; connect with Tai on Facebook or Snapchat.

2. Think big.

It’s easy to give up on the real-estate game because you don’t have any money, but it’s the deal that matters, not how much money you have. Chase the deal, not your budget.

I know a guy who saved $50,000 and started chasing $200,000 deals. First of all, you can’t buy more than four units with that budget. The problem with four units is that each can only produce maybe $1,000 or $2,000 per month. And that’s only after you’ve done thousands of dollars in work around the units to make them rentable in the first place. That math isn’t difficult—there’s just not enough money to make it worthwhile.

Raising Rent Without Feeling Guilty

Year-over-year inflation means that raising rent is inevitable for most landlords. However, it can be hard to pass the financial burden along to tenants, especially if they’re long-term and have a good track record.

Here are three ways to increase rent without resentment:

  1. Add a clause in your initial rent agreement.

    Telling tenants ahead of time that rent will increase 2-3% each year is a good way to alleviate any shock that comes from raising the rent when their lease expires. If they ask, explain that a small increase each year helps cover taxes and minor repairs.

  2. Include details in a letter.

    Typically landlords send out a letter at the end of a lease to renew or go month-to-month. This is a good time to introduce the new rent price and explain your reasons. Did you install new countertops or upgrade the storage in your building? Make sure your tenants know that!Pointing out improvements can help take away the sting a price increase, and helps tenants feel confident that their money if going back into improving the living conditions.

  3. Keep rent raises to a minimum.

    In the case of owner-occupied buildings, many landlords choose to take a low maintenance and reliable tenant over a small increase in rent each month. If you’re in it for the long-haul, it might not be worth it to potentially drive good tenants out. However, if you make the yearly increases small there’s a very good chance they’ll stick around.

  4. Distribute the costs.

    If you feel uncomfortable about raising the rent with a monthly fee, you can always consider changing how you charge for utilities. For example, if you currently cover water and electricity, inform the tenants that they will now be in charge of paying the bill and include it in their new lease. This is an especially good option if part of the reason you need to increase rent is higher utility bills.

Post found on fourwalls.rentler.com

3 Ways Real Estate Can Boost Your Retirement Income

 

There’s big appeal in the idea of investing in real estate right now. And it’s not just because of all the attention these days on President Donald Trump, who made his fortune in the industry.

Many real estate-related investments have done quite well in the last decade or so. The median sales price of single-family homes hit $315,700 at the end of the third quarter, up 23 percent from the prior peak for values in 2007 before the financial crisis hit.

At the same time, a low-interest rate environment has depressed yields in typical safe-haven investments like bonds and certificates of deposit. That has made income-generating real estate assets even more attractive.

And, of course, there’s the basic value of real estate as part of any well-balanced investment portfolio.

“Without alternative assets, a portfolio is limited to stocks and bonds. That means the portfolio is not fully diversified,” says Craig Cecilio, founder and president of real estate investment firm DiversyFund. “The other big advantage of real estate investing is that your investment is backed by real assets.”

Yes, real estate values do fluctuate – and sometimes drop significantly. But since properties are physical assets, they will always be worth something whereas other investments can go all the way to zero.

So if you like the appeal of real estate, how should you start investing?

Buy rental homes. This is the most direct way to invest in real estate – however, this approach does comes with a few drawbacks.

The first is the initial investment that’s required, since buying a house can require a big one-time payment or taking on significant debt. Then, of course, there is the hassle of being a landlord to fix leaky faucets or dealing with tenants.

That said, in many markets where rental rates are higher than mortgage payments on a similar property, a shrewd landlord can easily wind up ahead at the end of every month – and more importantly, have a reliable income stream that is independent of any appreciation in the underlying real estate.

Of course, renting versus house flipping is very different, and this latter strategy can be fraught with risks, Cecilio says.

“Investors need to ask whether the incentives of the investment issuer are the same as their own incentives,” he says.

For instance, if a company benefits by selling you advice or issuing loans instead of sharing in the ups and downs of your investment portfolio, that’s a sign that they may not care much whether you ever make any money.

Buy into publicly traded REITs. A special class of companies known as real estate investment trusts, or REITs, are specifically designed to make public investment accessible for regular investors.

In fact, thanks to all the attention, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index added real estate as its 11th industry group in 2016 to show the importance of this segment on Wall Street.

The biggest appeal for income-oriented investors is that REITs are a special class of investment with the mandate for big dividends. These companies are granted special tax breaks to allow them to more easily invest in the capital-intensive real estate sector, but in exchange, they must deliver 90 percent of their taxable income directly back to shareholders.

As a result, the yield of many REITs is significantly higher than what you’ll find in other dividend stocks. Mall operator Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) yields about 4.8 percent. Residential housing developer AvalonBay Communities (AVB) yields about 3.1 percent.

And, of course, investors can purchase a diversified group of these stocks via an exchange-traded fund if they prefer. For example, the Vanguard REIT Index Fund (VNQ), yields about 3.9 percent at present and has a portfolio of 155 of the biggest real estate names on Wall Street. The VNQ has an expense ratio of 0.11 percent, or $11 per $10,000 invested.

Crowdfunding. A fast-growing form of real estate investment for the digital age is via “crowdfunded” properties. The concept involves pooling together the investments of individuals to purchase properties, and share in those properties’ successes.

DiversyFund is one provider of these crowdsourced investments, as is Fundrise, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that owns properties from South Carolina to Seattle.

“We allow investors to very simply invest in private real estate instead of public real estate, with much lower fees and greater transparency, through the internet,” says Fundrise co-founder and CEO Ben Miller.

Private real estate can offer much bigger yields than publicly traded REITs, Miller says, to the tune of 8 to 10 percent annually. But the challenge in the past was the burden of big upfront fees and a lack of liquidity or access to your initial investment after you buy in.

Miller says REITs offer low barriers to entry for investors and the ability to buy or sell stocks on a daily basis, but investors pay a steep “liquidity premium” for the ability to trade – and subsequently, suffer a lower return.

“That liquidity premium is theoretically a benefit, but it’s invisible for most people and it’s not free,” he says. “If you’re investing in the long-term for income, why would you pay that premium?”

Crowdfunding platforms like Fundrise, DiversyFund, Realty Shares and RealtyMogul all look to take the best of both private and public worlds. For instance, Fundrise has a minimum investment of just $500 in its “starter portfolio” and charges significantly lower fees thanks to the cost-saving benefits of technology and a lack of middlemen.

Post courtesy of usnews.com