Real Estate Investing Skill Acquisition

Real estate investing is not in any list of high school electives. You can’t get an accredited degree in real estate investing. You won’t find a high school or college guidance counselor who recommends a career in real estate investing (if the guidance counselor understood real estate investing, he or she probably wouldn’t be a guidance counselor!)

The public school system and educational curriculum in the U.S. is only a feeble attempt to prepare students to just “get a job.” Unfortunately there is no class in “Making Money 101.” You don’t have the opportunity to take a class in “How to Become Financially Independent.” No teacher ever taught a class in “How to Succeed When Everyone Else is Failing.” I never learned anything about succeeding as an entrepreneur or becoming wealthy during my 10 years in the university classroom. I only became a multi-millionaire when I learned the skills of real estate investing, and I paid the price out-of-pocket and out-of-the-classroom for that education. I learned these skills in the ole University of Hard Knocks through trial-and-error.

Never disparage the cost of education. There ain’t no free lunch. You’ve gotta get this know-how outside of a classroom, and learning how to make money is gonna cost you. But if you think the cost of education is expensive, you should calculate the cost of ignorance!

However, learning real estate investing doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Yes, I know, the real estate investing TV infomercials and the real estate investing seminars held around the country charge big bucks for those 3-day seminars and week-long Boot Camps. But that’s pocket change compared to the fees they want to collect from you later. Catch this fact: all the real estate investing infomercials and seminars target you as a candidate for “real estate investing coaching.” That’s where they charge you up to $25,000 and over $50,000 per year for “coaching.” And often you are assigned to some kid “still wet behind the ears” to call you each week or month to hold your hand and whisper in your ear what common sense and a persistent drive should already tell you! I’m not exaggerating the real estate investing educational system, because I know it inside and out. I personally know many of the so-called “gurus.” I’ve been close to it for 25 years. My opinion is that the fees charged are exorbitant because the promoters have found deep pockets in the marketplace.

When I started my real estate investing career 25 years ago, real estate investing TV infomercials were unknown and real estate investing seminars were extremely rare. Back then, Mark Haroldsen followed an emerging trend started by Al Lowry and Nick Nickerson by holding occasional real estate investing seminars across the country. Later Robert Allen expanded the industry. Robert Allen promoted real estate investing conventions in the major cities across the U.S. He found a market for costly real estate investing packages of information with cassette tapes and note books. TV infomercials, expensive seminars, and outlandish coaching fees followed in subsequent years. Would-be real estate investing aspirants today who want more than an inadequate salary from a job in Dullsville often conclude that they have to “pay through the nose” for real estate investing know-how.

However, through diligent searching, these want to-bees often find that this education in real estate investing is more readily obtained from other sources than they previously imagined.

Real estate investing is probably one of the most easily learned skills never taught in school. Real estate investing is probably one of the most prolific careers available on Planet Earth. Because families now live in houses instead of caves, houses available for fix up are everywhere. And probably nothing contributes to upgrading the deplorable housing conditions across America comparable to real estate investing in fix up properties.

The entrepreneur-minded aspirant who discovers the real estate investing industry often catches a vision of life-beyond-a-job. Books and online courses offer an alternative to expensive seminars and coaching.

3 Things You Must Do to Succeed at Real Estate Investing

Here are three simple guidelines that must be followed if you plan to succeed at real estate investing. It’s not everything, of course, but at the very least, you must be willing to commit to these things if you want to become a successful real estate investor.

Shall we get stared?

Acknowledge the Basics

Real estate investing involves acquisition, holding, and sale of rights in real property with the expectation of using cash inflows for potential future cash outflows and thereby generating a favorable rate of return on that investment.

More advantageous then stock investments (which usually require more investor equity) real estate investments offer the advantage to leverage a real estate property heavily. In other words, with an investment in real estate, you can use other people’s money to magnify your rate of return and control a much larger investment than would be possible otherwise. Moreover, with rental property, you can virtually use other people’s money to pay off your loan.

But aside from leverage, real estate investing provides other benefits to investors such as yields from annual after-tax cash flows, equity buildup through appreciation of the asset, and cash flow after tax upon sale. Plus, non-monetary returns such as pride of ownership, the security that you control ownership, and portfolio diversification.

Of course, capital is required, there are risks associated with investing in real estate, and real estate investment property can be management-intensive. Nonetheless, real estate investing is a source of wealth, and that should be enough motivation for us to want to get better at it.

Understand the Elements of Return

Real estate is not purchased, held, or sold on emotion. Real estate investing is not a love affair; it’s about a return on investment. As such, prudent real estate investors always consider these four basic elements of return to determine the potential benefits of purchasing, holding on to, or selling an income property investment.

1. Cash Flow – The amount of money that comes in from rents and other income less what goes out for operating expenses and debt service (loan payment) determines a property’s cash flow. Furthermore, real estate investing is all about the investment property’s cash flow. You’re purchasing a rental property’s income stream, so be sure that the numbers you rely on later to calculate cash flow are truthful and correct.

2. Appreciation – This is the growth in value of a property over time, or future selling price minus original purchase price. The fundamental truth to understand about appreciation, however, is that real estate investors buy the income stream of investment property. It stands to reason, therefore, that the more income you can sell, the more you can expect your property to be worth. In other words, make a determination about the likelihood of an increase in income and throw it into your decision-making.

3. Loan Amortization – This means a periodic reduction of the loan over time leading to increased equity. Because lenders evaluate rental property based on income stream, when buying multifamily property, present lenders with clear and concise cash flow reports. Properties with income and expenses represented accurately to the lender increase the chances the investor will obtain a favorable financing.

4. Tax Shelter – This signifies a legal way to use real estate investment property to reduce annual or ultimate income taxes. No one-size-fits-all, though, and the prudent real estate investor should check with a tax expert to be sure what the current tax laws are for the investor in any particular year.

Do Your Homework

1. Form the correct attitude. Dispel the thought that investing in rental properties is like buying a home and develop the attitude that real estate investing is business. Look beyond curb appeal, exciting amenities, and desirable floor plans unless they contribute to the income. Focus on the numbers. “Only women are beautiful,” an investor once told me. “What are the numbers?”

2. Develop a real estate investment goal with meaningful objectives. Have a plan with stated goals that best frames your investment strategy; it’s one of the most important elements of successful investing. What do you want to achieve? By when do you want to achieve it? How much cash are you willing to invest comfortably, and what rate of return are you hoping to generate?

3. Research your market. Understanding as much as possible about the conditions of the real estate market surrounding the rental property you want to purchase is a necessary and prudent approach to real estate investing. Learn about property values, rents, and occupancy rates in your local area. You can turn to a qualified real estate professional or speak with the county tax assessor.

4. Learn the terms and returns and how to compute them. Get familiar with the nuances of real estate investing and learn the terms, formulas, and calculations. There are sites online that provide free information.

5. Consider investing in real estate investment software. Having the ability to create your own rental property analysis gives you more control about how the cash flow numbers are presented and a better understanding about a property’s profitability. There are software providers online.

6. Create a relationship with a real estate professional that knows the local real estate market and understands rental property. It won’t advance your investment objectives to spend time with an agent unless that person knows about investment property and is adequately prepared to help you correctly procure it. Work with a real estate investment specialist.

There you have it. As concise an insight into real estate investing as I could provide without boring you to death. Just take them to heart with a dash of common sense and you’ll do just fine. Here’s to your investing success.

IRA Real Estate Investing When the Going Gets Tough

IRA real estate investments are booming in 2008 for soon to be retirees who are worried about their future retirement plans. With the economy looking wobbly, the stock market plunging and the big investment banks going under, with us bailing them out, some traditional forms of retirement investing are starting to look a little sick.

For these reasons IRA real estate investments are increasing. Increasing? Surely not. Along with an economic meltdown, a stock market collapse and all sorts of economic turmoil, isn’t the real estate market headed for oblivion as well? Who in their right mind would consider investing their IRA in real estate?

Surely in 2008 real estate is a one way trip to the poorhouse.

No, not quite. Have you ever heard the expression that there is opportunity in adversity? There is plenty of opportunity in real estate right now, if you know where.

But lets look at IRA real estate investing first. How can you invest your IRA in real estate? Is it allowed? Is it legal?

Traditionally the majority of the population invest their IRAs in investments that are promoted to them by their custodian. In fact some custodians limit allowable investments to their own. So, it’s estimated, over 90%, in fact around 96% of IRA funds are invested this way. Mutual funds, CDs and stocks, and so on.

No problem if the markets are pushing ever skyward, but quite a problem right now.

But what about IRA real estate investments? Yes it’s entirely allowed to invest your IRA in real estate through a self directed IRA. Although this is not widely recognised, IRA real estate investing is one of the best forms of wealth accumulation for retirement. Real estate is a traditional long term wealth accumulation model, and as such is in fact ideal for IRA investing.

If you’re not certain about the details of how to set yourself up for IRA real estate investing consult your CPA, that’s outside the scope of this article. However take my word for it, it’s quite legal, and many canny IRA investors are doing it right now, and have been for a long time. You may need to execute an IRA rollover into a self directed IRA, but the trouble is worth it.

And there’s powerful reasons to consider investing your IRA in real estate. Did you know, for example, that it’s estimated that 85% of all wealth in the US was created through real estate?

And that through your IRA you can secure up to 70% bank non-recourse financing to invest your IRA retirement funds in income producing real estate?

Its food for thought isn’t it?

Now back to the real estate market. After all there’s no point in IRA real estate investing if the value of your real estate investment is going down is there?

Although we all hear that the real estate investment market is dreadful this isn’t the whole story. PARTS of the real estate market are dreadful, but not ALL of it. It’s perfectly possible to find excellent opportunities for investing in the lower priced end of the market. Simple comfortable homes for the working class who live in those faceless suburbs in cities right across America. There are some fantastic IRA real estate investments available in the right place RIGHT NOW.

But if you’re looking to get out there and find them yourself then you may be in for a shock. It’s not something that is realistic for the individual IRA real estate investor. You need professional help.

Buy in the wrong place and you’ll probably get burnt, big time.

But right now there are some excellent opportunities available for securing a great real estate investment, no cash down, at under market value, with tenants supplied, rental guarantees and even a guarantee that you will double your current investment return.

All through a major US public corporation with a reputation for solid real estate investment returns, for both IRA real estate investing and ordinary credit investing in real estate.

Yes you can secure your retirement future through a good IRA real estate investment, or more than one. However it’s the time to leave it to those who really know what they’re doing in hard times, and you can relax and leave the hard work to someone else.

But which corporation could possibly offer an opportunity like this?