If you look around for the wealthy and super rich individuals and families across the country, you will find that majority of them have amassed huge wealth not from their jobs or businesses but from real estate investing. It is a method of creating asset and wealth that is not only safe and reliable but also easy if you know what to do and which mistakes to avoid. Here is a guide on real estate investing for beginners.
How To Invest In Real Estate
There are many ways to invest in real estate. But to be successful in this field, it is necessary to study the local housing market and the factors that affect the profitability of a real estate project.
Two of the most popular ways to invest in real estate are residential real estate and commercial real estate. Single family homes, town-homes, and condos come in the category of residential real estate. You can buy and resell these properties to book a profit later. You can also purchase residential property to earn rental income from it.
Commercial real estate consists of condo buildings and multifamily apartments as well as shops and offices that are mainly intended for business purposes. You can buy such properties to either rent them out or lease out to your tenants. Any residential property containing more than 4 units is referred to as commercial real estate. This distinction is made by lenders who have different criterion for borrowers applying for a loan to buy these properties.
No matter which type of property you buy, you can benefit monetarily from it in different ways.
- Income through renting
- Income from appreciation in value
- Depreciation benefits when filing tax returns
- Benefits from deductions provided by government in interest repayment
You can choose from these different ways to invest in real estate. Different people have different skills and they choose the method of real estate investing according to their financial goals and their abilities. If you have small capital to begin with, you can even earn money by taking good deals to investors. This is referred to as wholesaling and you need to identify distressed properties available at less than their market value to earn commission for these deals.
If you are good at rehabbing, you can earn good money by buying a home, fixing it, and selling it later to book your profit. If you have enough money to put forward as down payment, multifamily apartment buildings might be a good idea for you.
A home equity loan is something alluring for many people, especially when they have expenses to deal with. Sometimes, taking out a loan can only do worse, as you know that you’ll have to face the challenge of monthly installments. But if you’re a homeowner, you have the chance to take an equity loan, which is very tempting.
Home equity loans are like a second mortgage, and they can work amazingly as long as you’ve built enough equity. But is this really the right option for you? Are you wanting to know how to invest in real estate using a home equity loan?
It Has Lower Rates
One of the reasons why people are put off by other types of loans is represented by the high interest rates. Like it wasn’t already enough that you’ll be in debt for years to come, you’d also have to handle the interest rate.
This is what makes the home equity loan so convenient in this regard. Rates are much lower, so you would be able to afford them. Most times, these rates will be below those of payday loans, credit cards or anything of the sort.
The great thing when it comes to a home equity loan is its flexibility. Unlike other loans that are only offered to you for specific purposes, equity loans are different. They can be used for pretty much any purpose, so whether you want to go on a vacation or your house is in desperate need of reparations, the loan can help you out.
You Get Larger Funds
Home equity loans are offered depending on the equity you build. Of course, the market value of the house at that moment is also relevant, but you can help increase the amount if you know how. If you make big down payments, renovate your home or pay off more than you need to, you have great chances of increasing the home equity loan amount in case you’ll need it.
You’ll Have an Additional Debt
Sure, the loan can help you big time, and you’ll be very happy to have some extra money. But the problem with home equity loans is the fact that you’ll have one additional debt to deal with. Although it has favorable interest rates, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still debt, and it may interfere with your budget in the future.
You May Lose Your Home
If you are unable to pay off the loan, things can get worse. Basically, your house will serve as a collateral guarantee to the loan. This means that if you won’t be able to pay it off when required, or you fail to make a lot of payments, you can be left homeless. This is why you must be sure you’ll be able to handle the responsibility before you take out the loan.
Home equity loans can be great for those who really need them for various reasons, and if you’re able to afford it and deal with the payments, it’s not a problem. But if you think the debt will be hard to manage, then a home equity loan may not be right for you, as you’d take a lot of risks.
Pros & Cons of Refinancing Your Mortgage
Many people with mortgages are taking refinancing into consideration. Whether they’re out of money and need to find ways to decrease their debt, or simply want to get rid of it much earlier, mortgage refinancing is a concept that can make this possible.
Simply put, mortgage refinancing is a new loan that you take in order to replace the already existing one. You hear your neighbors and colleagues at work talking about the advantages it packs, but is it really that perfect, or does it have its flaws as well? There is nothing that is entirely perfect and, as you can imagine, there are downsides to mortgage refinancing as well.
Our Excel Mortgage Calculator can also help you determine if it’s right for you. So, let’s examine the pros and cons of this concept and determine whether you should consider it or not.
Pros of Refinancing Your Mortgage
- Lower Monthly Payment
By refinancing your mortgage, you’re lengthening the term of your loan. Although this doesn’t sound dreamy, you’ll have more money to save each month, and less money to spend paying off installments. In other words, affordability will increase. It’s better to check a mortgage refinance calculator and see whether this option will work for you.
- Lower Interest Rate
The interest rate is one of the main reasons why people consider refinancing their mortgage. When the loan repayment is already high enough for you, the last thing you want is to deal with a high interest rate too. Through refinancing, you have chances to lower not only the interest rate but also the actual mortgage payment.
- You Might Get Cash Back through Equity
If you’re the happy owner of a home with lots of equity, then you are lucky. By refinancing your mortgage, you may even get back some of the money if the equity is enough. Therefore, you have the opportunity to use the money for reparations, improvements or paying other debt.
Cons of Refinancing Your Mortgage
- Spending Too Much Time
If you want to refinance, you will need a lot of time, which can be difficult if you are someone with a busy schedule. You need to look for reliable lenders, choose a loan and sign closing documents. So, if you’re always busy, this might not work out for you.
- Refinancing Costs
One of the many things that put people off when they check a mortgage refinance calculator is the cost of the refinancing process. It requires closing costs, which could sometimes be as much as 6% of the amount of the loan. Usually, these can be included in the loan balance, but you may also be required to pay on spot when closing.
- Longer Term
Sometimes, the loan term may extend, leaving you to deal with the loan for much longer than you initially thought. It may end up being repaid 10 years later, and dealing with a loan for that long can be nerve-wracking.
Mortgage refinancing can be very useful for some people, but it also comes with its own set of drawbacks, as you were able to see. It’s better to use a mortgage refinance calculator before you apply, so you can determine if it’s the right course of action.
Over the years, I’ve simplified my credit-card usage to just a few reward cards. My main goal was to rake up rewards as much as possible, without having to remember a complex algorithm to decide which card to use when.
Not that I’m too stingy and trying to collect changes, but I dislike leaving money on the table, especially when a couple of one-time habit-changes/steps can increase annual cash-flow by at least several hundred dollars, if not more. At the same time, neither I nor my family members (additional card-holders) are inclined to carry a lot of cards together with a mini-manual. I use cards heavily for over 80% of my total expenses (notable exceptions being the property tax and a few small recurring/annual payouts).
I wanted to share what I do and also get input from others as to what they follow:
- All gas purchases anywhere are with a card from penfed.org. 4.25% or more cash value depending on how one redeems
- All travel-related expenses and restaurant/dining-out are with Costco Citi Visa card): 3% cash-back
- [Under Consideration] Amazon Prime Visa card (5% cash-back), given our increased purchase from Amazon.com
- Fidelity Card for most everything else (including #3 at this moment): 2% cash-back
Notable choices made:
- I used to have a Shell card for 5% cashback at gas stations, but discontinued it since this is available only at Shell gas-stations
- The switch from AMEX to VISA has simplified this further as AMEX is still not accepted in a few merchants we use
- Stopped using “rotating reward category” cards (e.g., Chase gives 5% on 3 category of expenses, but the categories change frequently).
- I prefer getting cash or equivalent as reward than “in-kind”, due to the flexibility
- I learnt that x% reward does not necessarily mean x% cash. The reward points may be diluted depending on what is being redeemed
- I noticed that over the last few years, many online payments, including most utilities, are now accepting credit card auto-payments without any extra fee. Previously only a bank account was possible.
- I’ve left the other cards as is, and use them sporadically if needed (e.g., foreign travel)
What do you think? Anything you’d like to share from your experience?