Real estate prices are governed by a huge number of factors. Therefore, real estate investing advice is not like a sure shot prescription about how you should invest. Rather, it is a broad set of guidelines that will help form your own thumb-rules. The most important real estate investing advice is that investment in real estate should never be confused with speculation. Here are a few aspects that you might want to consider before you put your money into real estate.
Real estate investment is like any other investment. It is more like investing in Treasury Bonds or Mutual Funds. You get returns on it even when you continue to hold on to your investment. In property/real estate investing, the gain could be two-fold. If the property you hold is in a sought-after neighborhood, it would most likely fetch you a good rent. While you keep getting the rent, the prices could rise and give you the added return.
A typical property estate investor has the financial muscle and staying power. Such an investor does not get carried away by small, short term gains and instead concentrates on the big picture. An annual return of 6 to 8 percent of the invested amount is considered decent. Anything above 10 percent is a big bonus.
In the case of speculation, you enter when the price is low and exit at a higher price. The assumption is that prices will continue to rise, and that is not always the case. In fact, the last decade has seen a big slump of over 70 percent in many of the otherwise booming economies. The best bet in the case of speculation is being able to spot developing neighborhoods, especially residential, and to invest early.
In addition to the property estate investment and speculation discussed above, there is an interesting alternative. The real estate investor buys property that is not in the best of conditions, does it up in line with the current trends and then sells it for a substantially higher price. The unique selling point in this case is that the new buyer does not have to spend time, effort and money in getting it done. In one sense, this is an investment because you will still command a good rent till you get a buyer.
In the case of commercial property estate, the returns are naturally much higher. However, there are two points that need to be considered. Number one, the investment required is huge, depending of course on the size of the property and its location. The other important factor is that movement can be pretty slow. Do not expect businesses to relocate every other year. So, while the income in the form of rent is likely to be fairly high, the prospect of earning money through price appreciation can easily be years away.