Is it really smart to invest in real estate? Who can know for sure? Like any forms of investment, there are risks to consider. When the good outweighs the bad, then perhaps, putting money in real estate is a good way to start building up your investment portfolio.
How can we know which way to go? Real estate experts have identified major pitfalls to avoid if investing in real estate is what appeals to you:
Do not bank on intuition.
Intuition is defined as “hindsight”, or an inherent “inner warning”, that oftentimes does not veer towards the positive but leans on the unexplainable feeling of doom. Most people would sell their homes based on a pessimistic feeling that the real estate market will soon crash, or the long-perceived real estate bubble is beginning to burst, hence the sooner they sell their properties at prices they can still command, the better.
Most likely, the worse case scenario never happens. Panic paralyzes the mind from thinking logically through a situation, thus, past experiences are forgotten. When real estate prices do slide, they don’t happen overnight. Unlike stock market positioning where prices can nose-dive drastically, real estate values may only suffer a decline, but not a total burn-out. Those who sell their homes with the prospect of making a profit on it while they still can, and purchase another, when real estate prices slide are heading towards being homeless, or into rental homes themselves.
Look at the odds: selling your home will displace your family for a while, it will cost you your agent’s commission, new mortgage rates may even be higher than the previous ones you were paying, the inconvenience of moving and leaving a familiar neighborhood, including other attendant costs. In the end, your calculator will register a deficit rather than profit!
Keep a discerning mind; do not believe everything you read.
That value of real estate properties will always go up is more of an illusion, rather than fact. This line of thought is dangerous as it wafts “speculative” investing – a financial stratagem that can be potentially profitable but very risky. This can imperil your good investment approaches. Real estate agents are moved by the prospect of earning commissions, naturally, they will outsell one another by sales pitches that can close the deal.
Quandary with Rentals.
Purchasing properties with the prospect of renting them out is sound, however when this is done during an economic slump, this may jeopardize your investment.
When real estate foreclosures are high, some investors take it as a good sign for renting out properties. Some may experience demand, but oftentimes people move away when they lose jobs. By the law of supply and demand, when there are few renters, rents will plunge.
Avoid risky loans like a plague!
Mortgage loans come in many options, can be all attractive, but caution should be exercised. As in all things, not everything that sparkles is gold.
Interest-Only Mortgages don’t demand payment of the principal while other mortgage options may require regular payment of the principal, or no payment at all during the early years. But interest rates can increase monthly and the increase can cut deeper on your mortgage. If sufficient payment is not made, your total mortgage loan will cost you more than what you home originally costs.
Keep your investment straight and you have more to keep.
Funding your other investment portfolios with the equity on your home is risky. Same is true with financing second or third mortgages on a property. In the event of payment defaults, equity on such property shall satisfy the loan taken from the first mortgage lender; and any remaining amount, shall be used to satisfy obligations with the subsequent lenders. This, however, rarely happens.
Study. Probe. Evaluate. Do not speculate.
Real Estate Investment is flourishing – a sign that it is a profitable venture. No wonder, real estate industry remains a formidable choice among those who want to get a crack on the fortune pie. Having identified the common pitfalls in real estate investing will narrow down the margin of those who ventured but lost, and jumpstart the prospects of those who want to make it big.
Helen L. Erickson