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Real Estate Investing for Novices

An Overview of Investing Basics for Beginners

imply stated, when investing in real estate, the goal is to put money to work today and allow it to increase so that you have more money in the future. The profit, or "return," you make on your real estate investments must be enough to cover the risk you take, taxes you pay, and the costs of owning the real estate investment such as utilities, regular maintenance, and insurance.

Real estate investing really can be as conceptually simple as playing monopoly when you understand the basic factors of the investment, economics, and risk. To win, you buy properties, avoid bankruptcy, and generate rent so that you can buy even more properties. However, keep in mind that "simple" doesn't mean "easy." If you make a mistake, consequences can range from minor inconveniences to major disasters. You could even find yourself broke or worse.

  1. Real Estate Appreciation
    It is when the property increases in value due to a change in the real estate market, the land around your property becoming scarcer or busier like when a major shopping center is built next door or upgrades you put into your real estate investment to make it more attractive to potential buyers or renters. Real estate appreciation is a tricky game. It is riskier than investing for cash flow income.
  2. Cash Flow Income
    This type of real estate investment focuses on buying a real estate property, such as an apartment building, and operating it, so you collect a stream of cash from rent, which is the money a tenant pays you to use your property for a specific amount of time. Cash flow income can be generated from well-run storage units, car washes, apartment buildings, office buildings, rental houses, and more.
  3. Real Estate Related Income
    It is income generated by "specialists" in the real estate industry such as real estate brokers, who make money through commissions from buying and selling a property, or real estate management companies who get to keep a percentage of rents in exchange for running the day-to-day operations of a property. This type of real estate related income is easy to understand. For example, a hotel management company gets to keep 5 percent of a hotel's sales for taking care of the day-to-day operations such as hiring maids, running the front desk, mowing the lawn, and washing the towels.
  4. Ancillary Real Estate Investment Income
    For some real estate investments, this can be a huge source of profit. Ancillary real estate investment income includes things like vending machines in office buildings or laundry facilities in low-rent apartments. In effect, they serve as mini-businesses within a bigger real estate investment, letting you make money from a semi-captive collection of customers.