The L Steps – 6 Steps of Real Estate Investing

Real estate investing in Miami real estate is now becoming popular again as there are many properties in foreclosure, short sale, bank reo’s, and government foreclosures. With such an overwhelming inventory of homes available for sale a real estate investor must be able to determine which one to purchase. Investors must follow six steps in order to learn, understand and achieve Miami real estate investment success.

These are the six L steps to Miami real estate investing:

1. Location – Location, location, location is still the key of buying Miami real estate. Buying Miami real estate just because the price is low in a declining area is big mistake that should be avoided. Look for homes in an excellent location like, good schools, economic stable and growing neighborhoods, near shopping centers and malls, near bus stops and metro rails, near hospitals and restaurants. Sometimes it is better to pay a little more for a property in a good location than getting a bargain in a place where it is very hard to sell or rent the asset. Location is often overlooked in purchasing real estate as many investor think they can overcome a bad location if the price is low enough. Out of two homes that are exactly the same, the one in the best location will command a much higher sales price and rental income. Location is the number consideration when purchasing Miami South Florida real estate.

2. Long Term – Real estate investing is a long term proposition. Don’t think you are going to be a millionaire over night. It takes years of hard work and dedication in order to succeed. Hold any property at least one year before selling it. Capital gain taxes will be greatly reduced. Consider renting the property for at two or three years. The rental income generated will help you to properly repair and renovate the property. Many investors purchased properties in the middle of real estate boom with no money down and no equity. These investors were thinking of flipping the homes fast and make a killing in the process. Many homes now in foreclosure are due to investors that were caught in the middle and now realize that real estate investing is very hard to time. Long term Miami real estate investing is the secret to a successful real estate career.

3. Lease Option – Never rent a property with a lease option to buy. Either sell or rent it straight out. A lease option usually is a disaster for both buyers and sellers. The tenant will demand a large discount of the rent to go towards the down payment and closing costs. The problem is that tenant will not buy the property at the end of the lease and the landlord/seller will have wasted a lot of money in rebates given to the tenant/buyer. Demand a 20% or 30% deposit from the tenant/buyer and a clause in the contract that if they default on the purchase they will lose the deposit. This technique will force the tenant/buyer to purchase the property or lose the deposit. The risk of losing the deposit will eliminate the tenant from taking advantage of the landlord by walking out of the contract after receiving a monthly rental discount.

4. Local – Buy real estate close to where you live. Don’t buy real estate in another state or in another country. Keep real estate investing local. Buy in your own county and in your city. The more you know about the area where you are buying the better the decision will be. The investor should always be close to the investment property. The Miami real estate investor should inspect the property often to determine any repair, roof and other problems. The landlord must inspect the property every month when collecting the rent. Check for the number of tenants actually living in the property, check for damages and destruction of the property and overall condition of the place. The investor/landlord will not be able to inspect and determine the condition of the property if it is located far away. Keeping real estate local is an essential step in real estate investing.

5. Leverage – Most real estate books and seminars tell you to use other people’s money when purchasing real estate. This technique is not the best and buyers should try to buy the property in cash if at all possible. Buying a house in cash will help you get a better deal and allow you to negotiate from a position of strength. A cash buyer will always have the upper hand in negotiating with banks, property owners, and other sellers. Cash buyers will not suffer and go into foreclosure if the market turns and they are unable to sell or rent the house right away. Like Dave Ramsey always says “cash is king and debt is dumb”. Buying an investment property in cash is an excellent way to avoid Miami real estate investment mistakes.

6. Learn – Research the property and learn everything about it before you buy. A mistake in Miami real estate investing can be very costly. Usually you make your money when you buy not when you sell. Buying the property at the wrong price the wrong place and at the wrong time could be detrimental. One mistake could wipe you out and put you out of business before you start. Ask questions to the experts, real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage brokers, and other real estate investors. Learn, research, educate yourself in all aspects of real estate investing before you purchase the asset.

It is definitely a buyers market in Miami-Dade County. Miami real estate investors have more choices than ever before when it comes to real estate investing. Investors must follow the L steps, the 6 steps real estate investor guide to successful real estate investing in order to achieve their investment goals in the Miami real estate market.

A Guide to Investments in Indian Real Estate

Real estate has traditionally been an avenue for considerable investment per se and investment opportunity for High Net-worth Individuals, Financial institutions as well as individuals looking at viable alternatives for investing money among stocks, bullion, property and other avenues.

Money invested in property for its income and capital growth provides stable and predictable income returns, similar to that of bonds offering both a regular return on investment, if property is rented as well as possibility of capital appreciation. Like all other investment options, real estate investment also has certain risks attached to it, which is quite different from other investments. The available investment opportunities can broadly be categorized into residential, commercial office space and retail sectors.

Investment scenario in real estate

Any investor before considering real estate investments should consider the risk involved in it. This investment option demands a high entry price, suffers from lack of liquidity and an uncertain gestation period. To being illiquid, one cannot sell some units of his property (as one could have done by selling some units of equities, debts or even mutual funds) in case of urgent need of funds.

The maturity period of property investment is uncertain. Investor also has to check the clear property title, especially for the investments in India. The industry experts in this regard claim that property investment should be done by persons who have deeper pockets and longer-term view of their investments. From a long-term financial returns perspective, it is advisable to invest in higher-grade commercial properties.

The returns from property market are comparable to that of certain equities and index funds in longer term. Any investor looking for balancing his portfolio can now look at the real estate sector as a secure means of investment with a certain degree of volatility and risk. A right tenant, location, segmental categories of the Indian property market and individual risk preferences will hence forth prove to be key indicators in achieving the target yields from investments.

The proposed introduction of REMF (Real Estate Mutual Funds) and REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) will boost these real estate investments from the small investors’ point of view. This will also allow small investors to enter the real estate market with contribution as less as INR 10,000.

There is also a demand and need from different market players of the property segment to gradually relax certain norms for FDI in this sector. These foreign investments would then mean higher standards of quality infrastructure and hence would change the entire market scenario in terms of competition and professionalism of market players.

Overall, real estate is expected to offer a good investment alternative to stocks and bonds over the coming years. This attractiveness of real estate investment would be further enhanced on account of favourable inflation and low interest rate regime.

Looking forward, it is possible that with the progress towards the possible opening up of the real estate mutual funds industry and the participation of financial institutions into property investment business, it will pave the way for more organized investment real estate in India, which would be an apt way for investors to get an alternative to invest in property portfolios at marginal level.

Investor’s Profile

The two most active investor segments are High Net Worth Individuals (HNIs) and Financial Institutions. While the institutions traditionally show a preference to commercial investment, the high net worth individuals show interest in investing in residential as well as commercial properties.

Apart from these, is the third category of Non-Resident Indians (NRIs). There is a clear bias towards investing in residential properties than commercial properties by the NRIs, the fact could be reasoned as emotional attachment and future security sought by the NRIs. As the necessary formalities and documentation for purchasing immovable properties other than agricultural and plantation properties are quite simple and the rental income is freely repatriable outside India, NRIs have increased their role as investors in real estate

Foreign direct investments (FDIs) in real estate form a small portion of the total investments as there are restrictions such as a minimum lock in period of three years, a minimum size of property to be developed and conditional exit. Besides the conditions, the foreign investor will have to deal with a number of government departments and interpret many complex laws/bylaws.

The concept of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) is on the verge of introduction in India. But like most other novel financial instruments, there are going to be problems for this new concept to be accepted.

Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) would be structured as a company dedicated to owning and, in most cases, operating income-producing real estate, such as apartments, shopping centres, offices and warehouses. A REIT is a company that buys, develops, manages and sells real estate assets and allows participants to invest in a professionally managed portfolio of properties.

Some REITs also are engaged in financing real estate. REITs are pass-through entities or companies that are able to distribute the majority of income cash flows to investors, without taxation, at the corporate level. The main purpose of REITs is to pass the profits to the investors in as intact manner as possible. Hence initially, the REIT’s business activities would generally be restricted to generation of property rental income.

The role of the investor is instrumental in scenarios where the interest of the seller and the buyer do not match. For example, if the seller is keen to sell the property and the identified occupier intends to lease the property, between them, the deal will never be fructified; however, an investor can have competitive yields by buying the property and leasing it out to the occupier.

Rationale for real estate investment schemes

The activity of real estate includes a wide range of activities such as development and construction of townships, housing and commercial properties, maintenance of existing properties etc.

The construction sector is one the highest employment sector of the economy and directly or indirectly affects the fortunes of many other sectors. It provides employment to a large work force including a substantial proportion of unskilled labor. However for many reasons this sector does not have smooth access to institutional finance. This is perceived as one of the reasons for the sector not performing to its potential.

By channeling small savings into property, investments would greatly increase access to organized institutional finance. Improved activity in the property sector also improves the revenue flows to the State exchequer through-increased sales-tax, octroi and other collections.

Real estate is an important asset class, which is under conventional circumstances not a viable route for investors in India at present, except by means of direct ownership of properties. For many investors the time is ripe for introducing product to enable diversification by allocating some part of their investment portfolio to real estate investment products. This can be effectively achieved through real estate funds.

Property investment products provide opportunity for capital gains as well as regular periodic incomes. The capital gains may arise from properties developed for sale to actual users or direct investors and the income stream arises out of rentals, income from deposits and service charges for property maintenance.

Advantages of investment in real estate

The following are the advantages for investing in Real Estate Investment Schemes

• As an asset class, property is distinct from the other investment avenues available to a small as well as large investor. Investment in property has its own methodology, advantages, and risk factors that are unlike those for conventional investments. A completely different set of factors, including capital formation, economic performance and supply considerations, influence the realty market, leading to a low correlation in price behaviour vis-à-vis other asset classes.

• Historically, over a longer term, real estate provides returns that are comparable with returns on equities. However, the volatility in prices of realty is lower than equities leading to a better risk management to return trade-off for the investment.

• Real estate returns also show a high correlation with inflation. Therefore, real estate investments made over long periods of time provide an inflation hedge and yield real returns

Risks of investment in real estate

The risks involved in investing in real estate are primarily to do with future rental depreciation or general property market risk, liquidity, tenancy risk and property depreciation. The fundamental factors affecting the value of a specific property are:

Location – The location of a building is crucially important and a significant factor in determining its market value. A property investment is likely to be held for several years and the attractiveness of a given location may change over the holding period, for the better or worse. For example, part of a city may be undergoing regeneration, in which case the perception of the location is likely to improve. In contrast, a major new shopping center development may reduce the appeal of existing peaceful, residential properties.

Physical Characteristics – The type and utility of the building will affect its value, i.e. an office or a shop. By utility is meant the benefits an occupier gets from utilizing space within the building. The risk factor is depreciation. All buildings suffer wear and tear but advances in building technology or the requirements of tenants may also render buildings less attractive over time. For example, the need for large magnitude of under-floor cabling in modern city offices has changed the specifications of the required buildings’ space. Also, a building which is designed as an office block may not be usable as a Cineplex, though Cineplex may serve better returns than office space.

Tenant Credit Risk – The value of a building is a function of the rental income that you can expect to receive from owning it. If the tenant defaults then the owner loses the rental income. However, it is not just the risk of outright default that matters. If the credit quality of the tenant were to deteriorate materially during the period of ownership then the sale value will likely be worse than it otherwise would have been.

Lease Length – The length of the leases is also an important consideration. If a building is let to a good quality tenant for a long period then the rental income is assured even if market conditions for property are volatile. This is one of the attractive features of property investment. Because the length of lease is a significant feature, it is important at the time of purchase to consider the length of lease at the point in time when the property is likely to be re-occupied. Many leases incorporate break options, and it is a standard market practice to assume that the lease will terminate at the break point.

Liquidity – All property investment is relatively illiquid to most bonds and equities. Property is slow to transact in normal market conditions and hence illiquid. In poor market conditions it will take even longer to find a buyer. There is a high cost of error in property investments. Thus, while a wrong stock investment can be sold immediately, undoing a wrong real estate investment may be tedious and distress process.

Tax Implications – Apart from income tax which is to be paid on rental income and capital gains, there are two more levies which have to be paid by the investor i.e. property tax and stamp duty. The stamp duty and property tax differ from state to state and can impact the investment returns ones expected from a property.

High Cost Of Investment – Real Estate values are high compared to other forms of investment. This nature of real estate investment puts it out of reach of the common masses. On the other hand, stocks and bonds can now be bought in quantities as small as-one share, thus enabling diversification of the portfolio despite lower outlays. Borrowing for investment in real estate increases the risks further.

Risk Of Single Property – Purchasing a single – property exposes the investor to specific risks associated with the property and does not provide any benefits of diversification. Thus, if the property prices fall, the investor is exposed to a high degree of risk.

Distress Sales – Illiquidity of the real estate market also brings in the risk of lower returns or losses in the event of an urgent need to divest. Distress sales are common in the real estate market and lead to returns that are much lower than the fair value of the property.

Legal Issues – While stock exchanges guarantee, to a certain extent, the legitimacy of a trade in equities or bonds and thus protect against bad delivery or fake and forged shares, no similar safety net is available in the property market. It is also difficult to check the title of a property and requires time, money and expertise.

Overall keeping an eye on market trends can reduce most of these risks. For instance, investing in properties where the rentals are at market rates, also, investing in assets that come with high-credit tenants and looking for lease lock-ins to reuse tenancy risk are simple guidelines to follow.

Future Outlook

The real estate market is witnessing a heightened activity from year 2000 both in terms of magnitude of space being developed as well as rational increase in price. Easy availability of housing loans at much lesser rates has encouraged people who are small investors to buy their own house, which may well be their second home too.

High net worth individuals have also demonstrated greater zeal in investing in residential real estate with an intention of reaping capital appreciation and simultaneously securing regular returns.

In the wake of strong economic growth, real estate market should continue to gain momentum resulting in falling vacancies in CBD areas and more development in suburbs; it is unlikely that commercial property prices will rise or fall significantly, beyond rational reasoning.

As the stamp duty on leave and license agreements has been further reduced, it should further attract to deal in this manner encouraging the investors and the occupiers.

With current budget focusing on infrastructure, it will attract quality tenants and add to market growth. Heighten retail activity will give upward push for space requirement.

Further, the proposed introduction of REMF (Real Estate Mutual Funds) and REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) will boost these real estate investments from the small investors’ point of view. These foreign investments would then mean higher standards of quality infrastructure and hence would change the entire market scenario in terms of competition and professionalism of market players.

Looking forward, it is possible that with evident steps of the possible opening up of the REMF industry and the participation of financial institutions into property investment business, it will pave the way for more organized investment in real estate in India, which would be an apt way for retail investors to get an alternative to invest in property portfolios at all levels. Overall, real estate is expected to offer a good investment alternative to stocks and bonds over the coming years.

Advantages of Real Estate Investing

Investing in real estate is as advantageous and as attractive as investing in the stock market. I would say it has three times more prospects of making money than any other business. But, But, But… since, it is equally guided by the market forces; you cannot undermine the constant risks involved in the real estate. Let me begin discussing with you the advantages of real estate investments. I found the advantages as most suited and really practical.

Advantages

Real Estate Investments are Less Risky

As compared to other investments, less of misadventure is involved in a real estate property. I will not get away from the fact that just like any investment you make; you have the risk of losing it. Real estate investments are traditionally considered a stable and rich gainer, provided if one takes it seriously and with full sagacity. The reasons for the real estate investments becoming less risky adventure primarily relate to various socio-economic factors, location, market behavior, the population density of an area; mortgage interest rate stability; good history of land appreciation, less of inflation and many more. As a rule of thumb, if you have a geographical area where there are plenty of resources available and low stable mortgage rates, you have good reason for investing in the real estate market of such a region. On the contrary, if you have the condo in a place, which is burgeoning under the high inflation, it is far-fetched to even think of investing in its real estate market.

No Need for Huge Starting Capital

A real estate property in Canada can be procured for an initial amount as low as $8,000 to $ 15,000, and the remaining amount can be taken on holding the property as security. This is what you call High Ratio Financing. If you don’t have the idea as to how it works, then let me explain you with the help of an example. Remember that saying… Examples are better than percepts!

Supposing, you buy a condo worth $200,000, then you have to just pay the initial capital amount say 10% of $200,000. The remaining amount (which is 90%) can be financed, against your condo. It means that in a High Ratio financing, the ratio between the debt (here in the example it is 90% Mortgage) and the equity (here in the example it is 10% down payment) is very high. It is also important to calculate high ratio mortgage insurance with the help of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). If needed, you can also purchase the condo on 100% mortgage price.

Honing Investment Skills

A real estate investment, especially when you buy a condo for yourself, will be a pleasurable learning experience. It gives you the opportunity to learn and when I went ahead with my first real estate property, I was totally a dump man. Ask me now, and I can tell you everything, from A to Z. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. I had the necessity to buy the property and so I tried with it, and I was successful. I acquired all the knowledge and skills through experience of selling and purchasing the residential property. Thanks to my job. It gave me the experience to become an investor.

Not a time taking Adventure

Real estate investment will not take out all your energies, until you are prepared and foresighted to take the adventure in full swing. You can save hell lot of time, if you are vigilant enough to know the techniques of making a judicious investment in the right time and when there are good market conditions prevailing at that point of time.

You should be prepared to time yourself. Take some time out, and do market research. Initiate small adventures that involve negotiating real estate deals, buying a property, managing it and then selling it off. Calculate the time invested in your real estate negotiation. If the time was less than the optimum time, you have done it right. And if you end up investing more time, then you need to work it out again, and make some real correction for consummating next deals. You have various ways and methodologies, called the Real Estate Strategies that can make it happen for you in the right manner.

Leverage is the Right Way

The concept of leverage in real estate is not a new one. It implies investing a part of your money and borrowing the rest from other sources, like banks, investment companies, finance companies, or other people’s money (OPM). There have been many instances where people have become rich by practically applying OPM Leverage Principal. As I had discussed under the sub head – No Need for Huge Starting Capital, the high ratio financing scheme gives an opportunity of no risk to the lenders, as the property becomes the security. Moreover, in case the lender is interested in selling the property, the net proceeds resulting from the sale of the property should comfortably cover the mortgage amount.

Now consider a situation, where the lender leverages the property at too high ratio debt say 98% or even more, and all of the sudden the market shows a down turn, then both the investor as well as the lender. Hence, greater is the mortgage debt, more is the lender’s risk, and it is therefore necessary that lender pays higher interest rates. The only way out to ease the risk from lender’s head is to get the mortgage insured. Two companies authorized to insure your high-ratio mortgage debts are CMHC (www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca), and GE mortgage Insurance Canada (gemortgage.ca).

Letme explain you with the help of an example… supposing, you are buying a real estate property worth $ 200,000 at three mortgages, with the first one of $100,000, the second of $75,000 and the third one of $25,000. Possible percentage of interest rates charged can be 3%, 5% and 7%. The last mortgage amount of $25,000 will be accounted, as riskiest; as it would relatively be the last mortgage that you will pay when you finally make a selling deal.

On the contrary, if the first mortgage representing almost 90% of your property price is insured against getting default or as high ratio mortgage, then in the above example, the basic interest rate would be 3%.

Let me explain you the leveraging concept by taking another example.

Supposing, you are buying a real estate property worth $200,000, and made down payment of 10%, equitable to $20,000, while financed the rest amount of $1,80,000. Over the year’s time, the value of your property appreciates by 10%. In this case, what would be the total return that you’d incur on your down payment of $20,000? It would be 200%. Yes 200%. Putting in simpler words, the down payment of $20,000 made by you has an appreciation of 10% over it, i.e. (10% increase of original home price of $ 200,000), 200% return on your down payment investment of $20,000.

On the contrary if you invest all the money in buying the property of $200,000, and in wake of appreciation of 10% over the year ($20,0000 would then be accrued to as 20%.

Synonymous with leveraging is pyramiding, where you borrow on the appreciated value of your existing property. Pyramiding applies the principal of leverage that enables you to purchase even more properties. This appreciated value over the real estate property in some selected areas results in accumulation of rich financial virtues.

Real Estate Appreciation

An appreciation is an average increase in the property value over original capital investment, taking place over a period. There are some neglected real estate properties that have an appreciation below the average mark, whereas, some of the properties located in maintained geographical areas, showing high demand, have an above average appreciation. In such centrally located and high demand areas, the average appreciation can reach up to 25% in a year. I will discuss appreciation in the chapter on real estate cycles. For now, for general understanding, appreciation is what goes up.

You Make Your Equity

As you gradually pay your mortgage debts, you are creating your equity. In other words, you would be reaching to original house price on which you have no debt. Your equity is absolutely free of percentage increase in appreciation. From the investor’s perspective, in real estate market, equity is the amount that is free of debt and it is the amount that an investor holds. When you sale your property, then the net money you get, after paying all the commissions and closing costs, becomes your equity. Lenders don’t want to take risk by allowing a loan on over 90% of equity. Therefore, in this manner, the lenders take the safety measures in wake of their loan being defaulted.

The Federal Bankruptcy act says that all the first mortgages of over 75% of the appraised or purchase value must be covered under high-ratio insurance schemes. However, there are certain conditions, wherein, CMHC offers the purchasers of real estate property qualifying the insurance, a mortgage of up to 100% of purchase price over your principal house value. In the wake of an event where borrowers want more money from the lenders, they would ideally settle for second and the third mortgages.

Low Inflation

Inflation is the rise in the prices of the products, commodities and services, or putting it another way, it is the decrease in your capacity to buy or hire the services. Supposing, a commodity was worth $10 a decade back, will now cost $ 100 as the result of inflation. For people who have fixed salaries feel the real brunt of the dollar, as the inflation rises. In Canada, the inflation rate varies and it varies every year. There was a time when Canada had a double-digit, but it was controlled to single digit, after the regulation of policy.

If we analyze closely, the land appreciation value for the residential real estate is 4% to 5% higher than inflation rate. Therefore, when you invest in real estate, then you are paying mortgage debts in high dollar value. Now as you are getting more, salary to pay less amount than the amount that you had paid in the original mortgage.

Tax Exemptions

You get various tax exemptions on your principal and investment income property. The tax exemptions available in real estate property investment are more than available in any other investment. In other investments, you lose terribly on the investments in your bank in the form of inflation and high taxes therein, but in real estate; you don’t actually have such hindrances.

Various tax exemptions available are:
•The interest receivable from your bank account, term deposit or guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) is completely taxable as income. A little math here will do the magic work for you. Supposing, if you get an interest of 8% on the deposit, and the on going inflation rate is 5%, the Real Return Rate will come out to be settled at 2%.
•You get completely tax-free capital gain on principal amount of your residential real estate property.
•You have the opportunity to ward off principal amount of your residential real estate property against the home expenses incurred by you.
•You can easily ward off the property depreciation against your income.
•You can cut the expenses incurred in real estate property investment through your income
•Tax rate reduced to approx. 50% of the capital gain.
•And many more

Net Positive and High Income is Generated

If taken in right direction and played seriously, a real estate investment can be your virtue making endeavor now and in times to come. You will not only be having additional assets building in your favor, but also with positive cash flow, your real estate property value will increase automatically.

High Return on Investments (ROIs)

Real estate investment gives you potentially high ROIs before and after the taxes levied on your income. In fact, investing in real estate gives you high ROIs after the taxes.

Demand for the Real Estate Increases

As a natural instance, when the population of a region increases, the total usable land decreases, and this provides the impetus for high real estate prices. There are many communities that can or cannot have growth and development regulations, thereby, resulting in limited land available for use. Therefore, the real estate prices of the area shoot up. Remember housing is the necessity of an individual and therefore it is much in demand than any other single commodity taken. Furthermore, there are people who purchase additional houses for their recreation, recluse or as a past time. This in turn increases the demand for land.