4 Basic Guidelines for Investing In Smaller Income Properties

Many people come to realize, real estate is often, an important component in one’s overall investment portfolio. This does not mean, doing so, and omitting other possibilities, such as stocks, bonds, etc. This article is not meant to advise the investor, who has the savvy, abilities and financial assets, to invest in huge projects, but rather, relates far more, to investing in two to eight – unit houses, or mini – developments. Understanding some basic guidelines, and considering them carefully, logically, and unemotionally, should help one make the best choices. Remember, when you invest in income properties, your mindset must be, based on economic factors. Here are 4 essential factors/ guidelines, to consider.

1. Financial feasibility: Does this investment make economic or financial sense? Can you make a profit, which justifies your investment? Is it financially feasible? What are the risks, downfalls, predicted occupancies, etc? Will you commit to being conservative on the revenue potentials, but far more knowledgable and ready for potential expenses? Begin by using the 6% Rule! The 6% rule means analyze the potential by considering whether you can make a 6% cash – flow profit, without considering factors such as depreciation, etc. For example, if the property cost one million dollars ($1 million), your net cash flow must be, at least, $60,000 per year, or $5,000 per month. To do this, you must consider taxes, as well as owner – paid utilities, maintenance, capital improvements, etc, and end up with at least $60,000 per year. If your taxes are $30,000, and you estimate maintenance expenses at $500 per month (($6,000), then the rents must come to $96,000 per year ($60,000 base requirement + $30,000 taxes + $6,000 maintenance reserves). Therefore, in this example, you must ask yourself if the project, will be capable of collecting $8,000 per month, in rental income!

2. Maintenance/ capital reserves: How old is the roof? Since most roofs are rated at a 20 – year usable life, if it’s relatively new, you should allocate a smaller amount, than if it’s older. Water heaters are normally rated for 10 – years. Never under – estimate! When will you need to paint the exterior, and how often will you need to do interior painting? Know your potential costs up – front, and plan accordingly! Don’t forget insurance, etc.

3. Location: Factor in the location, not as you might for residential, private homes, but in terms, of the type of property. Does that location help, or hurt, the income potential, etc?

4. Real estate taxes: Remember, real estate taxes rarely go down, and usually rise. Look at this property’s tax history, so you have some idea of the average yearly increase. Plan fully and smartly, from the onset!

In the right circumstances, and when the selected property meets the criteria, etc, investing in these types of properties often makes lots of sense, and may become an important component in one’s portfolio. However, if you fail to take a complete look, you might be confronted with the proverbial, Money Pit!