Resolving the Real Estate Investing Fear Factor

If you’re a new real estate investor who has thought about real estate investing but have been due to a nagging feeling that you are certain the market will collapse once you step in and you will lose all your money; guess what, you’re not alone.

Fear grips every new investor; and no one successfully investing in real estate today would state otherwise. It’s common for potential real estate investors to miss out on incredible opportunities for no other reason but an overwhelming sense of fear.

Okay, so let’s address some of the most common fears and see whether we can help you to become less anxious, and maybe take the plunge into real estate investing after all.

Negative Cash Flow

Hey, the idea behind investing in real estate is to make enough money to cover operating expenses and loan payment with some left over to deposit in the bank. Having to feed a property won’t cut it; no investor wants to feed a rental property.

Believe it or not, this fear one might be the easiest to manage because it’s straightforward: simply run the numbers before you buy. Obtain the property’s last twelve months income and operating expenses, calculate a mortgage payment, and plug the results into a spreadsheet or real estate investment software program to determine cash flow. If the cash flow is negative, so be it, otherwise dispel the concern and move ahead.

Just be sure to use realistic rents, a vacancy rate (even if the owner claims full occupancy), operating expenses (don’t forget replacement reserves), and a loan payment to compute your annual cash flow.

Also, never walk away merely because the property indicates a negative cash flow. Dig a little deeper and look for ways to manage the cash flow. Many rental income properties simply go negative because of poor property management; you might have a probability of raising rents and cutting operating expenses. Who knows, you may even discover a real opportunity overlooked by the current owner.

This Isn’t the Right Time

Yes, for any number of national or international events, potential investors often feel it would be advantageous to wait for better times before making an investment in real estate.

But real estate investment has little to do with the economic climate at the time you buy. Foremost, consider the long haul. Economic depressions come and go, but how will the investment property impact your future rate of return? That’s what counts.

If it helps, bear in mind that unlike the fluctuating stock market real estate has a profound record for steadily appreciating. Perhaps not overnight, and not without an occasional bump, but historically, real estate value does go up over time.

Losing Your Money

Of course, you wouldn’t want to tap into your savings to make maybe the largest financial investment of your life only to wind up losing it all.

The key, however, is to study and research. Learn about the property you want to invest in, and the area where you plan to invest. Look for sources of information like seminars, college courses, real estate software, and real estate investing books. Get an expert appraisal of the property from an investment real estate professional or property appraiser. There’s always some risk when real estate investing, but developing a plan with knowledge will negate most of your uncertainties.

Tenant and Management Hassles

Okay, it’s true. No one wants the headache of having to repair a refrigerator or to fuss with an unruly tenant; and its understandable why that concern does prevent many people from becoming real estate investors. But life is always a series of trade offs, and trading off an occasional migraine for potential future wealth is generally worth it.

However, it’s also true that in time you will learn to deal with and manage most issues in your sleep. If not, you can always hire the services of a reliable property management company to deal with it for you. For about ten percent of the rental income, a property manager will do all the dirty work; the advantage being that it will relieve you of the time and stress of having to deal with tenants and repairs and in turn puts matters like late rents into the hands of experts.

Lack of Real Estate Experience

Just because you have not yet purchased an investment property should not keep you from real estate investing. In this case, locate a real estate agent who specializes in investment property to assist you.

When it actually comes time to buy a rental income property, you’ll be surprised to discover that it’s not as insidious as it looks, and tapping into the mind of an expert will increase your comfort level significantly. But the keyword here is investment property specialist. A real estate agent who just sells houses won’t benefit you; you want a real estate professional with true real estate investment experience.

It’s Time to Get Started

Granted, the hardest part about jumping into real estate investing is getting started. We’re great at making excuses, and there are always numerous reasons to put off starting something new.

Yes, we want to be cautious. It’s better to put the breaks on and approach real estate with adequate knowledge. So if you’re struggling, here’s my suggestion: learn, research, and plan. Educate yourself about real estate investing, learn about real estate in general and more specifically about your specific real estate market, and develop a road map about the financial security you hope to achieve.

Afterward, pick out that first rental property, make a purchase, and then take over as manager. If you’ve stuck to your investment plan goals, calculated the numbers, did your due diligence correctly, and work diligently to increase income and control expenses, in time you’ll be able to move on to bigger and better properties.

After all, that is the nature of real estate investing.

5 Essential Features That Make Real Estate Investing Profitable

Every now and then persons trying to make up their minds where to put their money ask me if real estate ventures are more or less profitable, compared to other businesses opportunities around.

My response is always that apart from its potential for yielding significant profits, investing in real estate often confers long terms benefits.

I discuss five such advantages below:

1. You Can Refurbish (to Enhance the Value of) Real Estate
After you buy a stock, you hold it for a period of time and hopefully sell it for a profit. The success of the stock depends on company management and their corporate success, which is out of your control.

Unlike other conventional investment instruments, like stocks, for instance, whose rate of returns, depend on third parties (e.g. company management), real estate investments are directly under your control.

Even though you will not be able to control changes that may occur in demographic and economic aspects, or impact of nature induced changes, there are many other aspects that you can control, to boost the returns on your investment in it.

Examples include aspects relating to adding repairs, or improvements/enhancements to the physical property and tenants you allow to live in it.

If you do it right, the value of your investment will grow, resulting in increased wealth for you.

2. Real Estate Investing, When Done Right, is Proven to be Profitable Even During a Recession (like the one we’re in right now)
It has on several occasions, been used to effect a bail out, from financial setbacks, such as those that many have experienced during the economic downturn happening in Nigeria today.

A considerable number of clients have confided in me that due to the present economic situation, they are not sure of profitable channels to invest their money. Some of them are done with bonds and treasury bills, but are in dire need of a new investment.

We had extensive discussions, and based on my expertise as a real estate consultant, I recommended landed property investment, as the most suitable and secure alternative channel of investment.

This is because, even if all businesses crumble, land will always appreciate greatly. Then to drive my point home, I ended by sharing the following apt quote, by a former American president:

“Real estate can’t be lost, nor carried away, managed with reasonable care, it’s about the safest investment in the world” – Franklin Roosevelt.

Not surprisingly, the client chose to take my advice – and signed up: it was the obvious, common sense thing to do!

3. Real Estate Investments Are Immune to Inflation
In other words, investing your money in ownership of viable real estate can protect you from the harsh effects that inflation usually has on other conventional investments.

This is because the value of real estate generally tends to rise in positive correlation with inflationary pressures. This is why property values and rental rates go up with rising inflation.

The nature of real estate, therefore affords owners the unique advantage of being able to adjust the rates they offer, to match inflation.

Monthly rents for example can be raised to compensate for inflation – thus providing a cushion effect against inflation induced losses that other monetary investments suffer.

4. Real Estate is Uniquely for Being Universally Acceptable as Collateral, Towards Securing Funding from Banks
Today, real estate in form of either building or lands, with proper titles (i.e. Certificate of Occupancy – aka “C of O”) is the most recognized and accepted form of collateral in Nigeria – and some other parts of the world.

It has the unique feature of being able to protect the interests of both the borrower and the bank (that’s doing the lending), so that funds can be released i.e. after due verification, and terms and conditions are agreed.

This is one of the key advantages a private C of O has over the global C of O, because the former (i.e. private C of O) is what will be needed by the intending borrower, in the event of any future financial dealings with bank in Nigeria.

5. Real Estate Investing Allows Use of Other People’s Money
In other words, you can do it even if you do not have enough money. You just need to know how.

This is possible because real estate is physical property or what is called a hard asset. That is an attribute that makes it attractive to financiers i.e. people with money to invest.

This is why many times real estate products are bought with debt – unlike conventional investment products like stocks which are NOT tangible, and therefore perceived as being more risky to invest in.

So real estate investment can be done using cash or mortgage financing. In the latter case, payments can be so arranged to allow payment of low initial sums, provided by you or a willing third party.

Those payments will be happening on landed property which will continue increasing in value throughout the duration of such payments – and indeed beyond. That further inspires confidence in the minds of those financing the acquisition, that their investment is safe.

Little wonder that real estate investing has continued to prosper for so long!

[A WORD OF CAUTION] The listed benefits notwithstanding, I still tell prospective investors that due diligence is a crucial requirement for succeeding.

Whether you do everything yourself or use industry professionals like me, it is imperative that you exercise caution and arm yourself with relevant information and education.

This is something I advice my clients to do all the time, so they can make good decisions in investing.

The importance of the above cannot be overstated, especially in Lagos where quite a number of individuals, have had their fingers badly burnt, because they failed to take the needed precautions.

My purpose is to help clients avoid having such horrible experiences, by bringing my years of experience in this field to bear in serving them.

References/Related Article:

[You can read about more advantages of real estate investing, in this excellent article I found at: http://realestate4investing.com/articles/real-estate-investments/10-advantages-disadvantages-real-estate-investments ]